The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.
























HALIFAX, TUESDAY, MAY 2, 1995



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Third Session



12:00 P.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mrs. Francene Cosman






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would like to call the House to order at this time and commence
this afternoon’s sitting.



Are there any introductions of visitors? If not, we will commence the daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury.



MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition signed by 1,167 residents of the
District of the Municipality of St. Mary’s. They are opposed to the closure and transfer of the Registry of
Deeds from Sherbrooke to Guysborough. I will read: “Therefore Be It Resolved that the government of Nova
Scotia continue to operate a Registry in Sherbrooke to assure that residents of our Municipality have fair
access to this basic service.”.



Earlier this morning, Mr. Speaker, a group from the District of St. Mary’s met with the minister and
presented her with a copy of this resolution. I have affixed my name to this petition.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: I was waiting, Mr. Speaker, to see if another member would rise to present this
petition.






1289

 

Mr. Speaker, I have here a petition to the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, on behalf of the people
of Bedford, from the mayor and councillors of Bedford. It is signed by Mayor Peter Kelly, Councillor Anne
Cosgrove, Councillor Joan Pryde, Deputy Mayor Peter Christie, Councillor Len Goucher. For the purposes
of tabling, I have signed it.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, with deference, the member who represents that area had already given me
notice of intent to introduce the same petition. I recognized the honourable member because I thought he had
a petition to introduce himself.



DR. HAMM: That was why I hesitated in getting to my feet, Mr. Speaker. I was waiting for another
member to rise. If that is the case, I would defer to the member for Bedford-Fall River.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for that area has the original.



The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, with apologies to the member for Pictou Centre, I had
no idea he also had the same petition and I am not good at reading minds on this subject. So, I will try now
to introduce the original petition.



It is a petition to the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia which has a number of whereas clauses. I
am reading the resolved part of the petition: “. . . the Mayor and Council of the Town of Bedford evidenced
by a Resolution of the Town of Bedford attached to this petition and the Citizens of the Town of Bedford as
evidenced by the result of a Plebiscite held on the 27th day of April and 28th day of April, 1995, in which the
Citizens of the Town of Bedford voted against the Town of Bedford being amalgamated with the Cities of
Halifax and Dartmouth, and the Municipality of the County of Halifax by a majority of 89.03% of those who
voted, respectfully pray that this House of Assembly of Nova Scotia exclude the Town of Bedford in any
amalgamation with the Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, and the Municipality of the County of Halifax.”.



This petition, Mr. Speaker, has been signed by five of the town councillors. The sixth councillor
chose not to sign it and it has been signed by the mayor and I have affixed my signature to the back of it.



MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.



Are there any additional petitions to be tabled? If not, I would like to revert to introduction of guests.
I see a considerable number of guests.



The honourable member for Sackville-Beaverbank.



MR. WILLIAM MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I draw your attention to the west gallery where we
have Grade 9 students from Sackville Heights Junior High School, along with teachers Cathy Burton and
Joanne Belanger. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES









TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Housing and Consumer Affairs.



HON. ELEANOR NORRIE: I beg leave to table the Annual Report for the fiscal year ended March
31, 1994 of the Liquor License Board.



MR. SPEAKER: The annual report is tabled.



Copies will now be distributed.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.



RESOLUTION NO. 237



HON. JOHN SAVAGE (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall
move the adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas the interim Leader of the New Democratic Party frequently extols his Party’s democratic
principles while condemning those of the Liberal Party; and



Whereas the Nova Scotia Liberal Party has shown leadership by being the first in Canada to adopt
a democratic practice which allows all of its 25,000 members, without exception, to vote for its Leader; and



Whereas the Nova Scotia New Democratic Party has announced its preference to restrict democracy
by allowing a mere few hundred members of the Party elite to vote;



Therefore be it resolved that in the interests of true democracy, the NDP should, with haste, set aside
its principle of exclusive democracy and permit all New Democrats to vote at the Party’s upcoming leadership
convention.



Mr. Speaker, may I ask for waiver of this notice? (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: I think that the unanimity required has been denied.



The notice is tabled.



MR. JOHN HOLM: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I would invite the Premier to call his
resolution as he is entitled to do under Government Business at any time and we would be only too happy to
debate the topic.



MR. SPEAKER: Without a doubt.



HON. RICHARD MANN: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker. The difficulty with them allowing all
their members in, the numbers may actually not change. (Laughter)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.



RESOLUTION NO. 238



HON. RONALD STEWART: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the
adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas May 1st to May 7th is Mental Health Week in Nova Scotia; and



Whereas mental health is an important social and public health issue affecting individuals, families
and communities, regardless of status; and



Whereas the Department of Health will continue to work with mental health consumers, mental
health caregivers and organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association to improve mental health
services for all Nova Scotians;



Therefore be it resolved that Nova Scotians take steps toward greater understanding and acceptance
of mental health and reflect on their mental health during this, Mental Health Week in Nova Scotia.



I would ask for waiver on this issue.



MR. SPEAKER: Is there unanimous consent that notice be waived on that motion?



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 239



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the
adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas the Premier and his Party appear to have finally shown some resolve in their year-long quest
to answer the question which has consumed his government and Party: Should the Premier face a review?;
and



Whereas the Premier has wavered over that question personally, first solidly for the idea, then against
and now once again in support; and



Whereas this flip-flop on such a fundamental issue was beginning to wear thin both the Premier’s
personal strength and stature;



Therefore be it resolved that this Premier be congratulated for finally putting his concerns on the
review in perspective when, in an interview with The Bridgetown Monitor he said, “Obviously, I don’t approve
a leadership review if it gets rid of me, that’s my personal view. It’s akin to a chicken being asked whether they
approve of Kentucky Fried Chicken.”.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 240



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption
of the following resolution:



Whereas the Cape Breton School Board has discovered how the promised local savings from wage
roll-backs and early retirements failed to materialize and were used instead to justify more provincial
cutbacks; and



Whereas as one of the largest school boards in the province, that has fully cooperated with the
minister’s directives, the board now faces further cuts to services like counselling, where waiting lists already
run three to nine months; and



Whereas no one has explained how such services could be provided if they are delivered over a much
larger area with daunting travel requirements;



Therefore be it resolved that the Education Minister should look beyond the paving projects in his
own backyard to recognize that massive consecutive cutbacks are undermining the quality of education in
Cape Breton and in all of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Bedford-Fall River.



RESOLUTION NO. 241



MRS. FRANCENE COSMAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move
the adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas the new Basinview Drive Community School was officially opened today in the Town of
Bedford; and



Whereas the new $7 million school has over 600 students; and



Whereas the innovative community school will serve as a resource to the entire Bedford community,
promoting lifelong learning;



Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the entire school population; their Principal,
Mr. Tim Allen; and the community of Bedford on the official opening of the new Basinview Drive
Community School.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



It is agreed.



Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 242



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the
adoption of the following resolution:



Whereas federal Bill C-76 will fundamentally change the federal-provincial arrangements established
after World War II to ensure Medicare, training, higher education and a minimum standard of living for all
Canadians; and



[12:15 p.m.]



Whereas Nova Scotians deserve a full opportunity to express their views on legislation affecting the
majority of public services in our province; and



Whereas that opportunity would be provided by public hearings in this province and across the
country;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urges the House of Commons Standing Committee on
Finance to hold public hearings on Bill C-76 across the country to ensure an adequate opportunity for all
Canadians to make known their views and knowledge about this important legislation.



Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



I hear several Noes.



The notice is tabled.



Are there further notices of motion? If not, I wish to advise the House that the Clerk has conducted
a draw for the Adjournment debate at 6:00 p.m. this evening. The winner this afternoon is the honourable
member for Halifax Fairview. She has submitted a resolution for debate reading as follows:



Therefore be it resolved that public hearings on the House of Commons Bill C-76 should be held in
Nova Scotia.



We will hear submissions on that theme at 6:00 p.m. this evening. If there are no further items to
come before the House under the heading of the daily routine, we will advance now to the Orders of the Day.
The time being 12:16 p.m., Oral Question Period today will run for one hour, that is until 1:16 p.m.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



ERA - GUYS. CO.: JOBS - CREATION



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is for the Premier. The people of Guysborough County
have brought forth some troubling statistics today and the honourable member for Guysborough-Port
Hawkesbury has tabled a petition here expressing concern about the closure of registry offices and so on. In
addition to that, it is my understanding from conversation with community leaders in Guysborough County
that something like 147 jobs have disappeared in Guysborough County since this Premier’s government came
to power and that number is higher when one factors in recent layoff notices given to transportation workers
in Guysborough County.



My question to the Premier is, when can the people of Guysborough County expect something
positive from this government along the lines of job creation instead of what appears to be the government’s
continued effort to strip away the rural fabric of Guysborough County?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this has been an issue that has concerned us very much. We have a
Cabinet subcommittee that has worked on this and I am going to ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency if he would comment on the proposals that may be coming forward.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Without doubt, the most significant challenge facing Nova Scotians
now as we take part in economic recovery is to make sure that that recovery is balanced, that it affects both
rural and urban areas with as much equity and equality as possible at a time when government programs are
not sustainable. Some of those programs have to be changed in order to maintain the fiscal health of the
province. There is direct impact in employment in those areas.



I can assure the member opposite that a team of government officials is working closely, literally
daily, through not only their own MLA, who is exemplary in his practice, but also with town officials and
business people in the community to try and address in an honest manner the impacts of fiscal reduction
policies of the government, but also the economic opportunities that exist and must be exploited in
communities like Guysborough, in communities like Digby, Inverness and throughout this province.



MR. DONAHOE: By way of supplementary to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, I am
aware of the establishment back in November 1994 of Team Guysborough, with a great deal of fanfare and
this minister’s predecessor in office at Economic Renewal was among that team, I assume this minister has
now assumed that role, so I will put it directly to this minister.



Since he has assumed his responsibilities as Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, can he give
us an indication of the number of meetings in which he has personally participated relative to the work of this
so-called Team Guysborough, and as a consequence of his involvement in leadership, what it is that the
residents of Guysborough County can realistically expect from this secretariat and from this minister by way
of job creation, in the next six months?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, there have been dozens and dozens of meetings in the last few weeks
concerning not only Guysborough, but the whole issue of community economic development throughout this
province. Specifically, there are jobs related to the fishery in Guysborough, there are jobs related to eco-tourism in Guysborough, but the honourable member and Guysborough, in particular, are entitled to the kinds
of information that is being asked here. What specifically is being done in the area of job creation? What are
the results? How can the people of Guysborough, more importantly perhaps than our members opposite, count
on the fact that this government is committed to sustainable economic employment opportunities and
sustainable economic activity in every area of the province? I personally commit to the member opposite,
based on this question and others, to try and table in this House, to try and provide information that is being
shared with the people of Guysborough, on the numbers, on the sustainability of those numbers of the jobs
created in those areas and, to be totally honest, in terms of the feedback given communities in this province.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the minister’s pledge for total honesty and
accountability and openness and so on. That is all very laudable. The concern, as I have indicated earlier, is
that my information from leaders in Guysborough County, is that there are fewer people working in
Guysborough County now than was the case when this government took place.



By way of final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, if I may, I would like to go through you, back to the
Premier. On May 17, 1993, in a keynote address in Canso, there was a very interesting statement made. It was
distributed widely through the municipality of the District of St. Marys, Sherbrooke and so on. Attention
Town Clerk, Mayor, and it was from Ray White, Campaign Headquarters. Please be advised that in a major
address on rural issues in Canso today, Liberal Leader Dr. John Savage stated: we will help preserve the way
of life in rural communities by using the communications technology that Nova Scotia companies are
developing for world markets. For example, a Liberal Government will postpone the phasing out of court
closures and registries until communities like Sherbrooke and Guysborough can access new technology to
replace this service.



My question, in the light of that campaign commitment made prior to the vote in May 1993 is, now
that it appears, as it does, that the Registry of Deeds and the court-house are being closed in Guysborough
County, the new technology is not in place, how can the Premier explain his failure to honour the commitment
to the people of Guysborough County, as promulgated by his candidate, Raymond White, now the member
for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury?



THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I did make that speech and I did confirm that we would do what we
could for the rural and coastal areas, in particular, Guysborough. We have that same commitment and this
government will do it. Unfortunately, we did not reckon with the financial mess that we inherited, largely in
part from people like the Leader of the Opposition, which, in effect, gave us very difficult choices and
restrictions on what we had to do with what little money there was. I can assure you, that with the wide area
network now advertised and with opportunities, hopefully, for the picking up of this fairly soon, we will
indeed be in a position to provide the kind of electronic service that the Minister of Transportation and
Communications and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and myself have agreed to. We certainly intend to do
that and the issue is quite clear, that it will be delivered. We hope that we will be in a position with the calling
of the proposal for the wide area network to do it as soon as possible.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MUN. AFFS. - HARBOURVIEW SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB:

 

GRANT - RESPONSIBILITY



MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address my question through you, sir, to the
Minister of Municipal Affairs. Of course, the minister will know that the province provided $36,000, through
the City of Dartmouth, for the directors of the Harbourview Senior Citizens Club. One of the directors, of
course, is the minister’s executive assistant, another one was her campaign manager and the third one is a
well-connected political friend of the Liberal Government as well. The directors spent the money in such a
way that it was gone in less than a year, money that was intended to ensure that that centre was open and to
be enjoyed by the citizens for a three year period. So, my question to the minister is, quite simply, why was
the responsibility for that $36,000, that was intended to guarantee the use of that facility by the seniors, given
to her executive director and the other two well-connected Liberal members?



HON. SANDRA JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address this question. Contrary to what the
honourable member may be aware of, initially the money was made available to the seniors of the club. In
actual fact, Joan Hayes, who is the president of one of the seniors’ clubs there, had been working for almost
three years to try and get some seniors club and seniors services provided in the north end of the city.



I had discussions with Mayor McCluskey and we agreed there should be some funding made
available, which I provided to the City of Dartmouth initially and which the City of Dartmouth then provided
to the seniors of the club.



Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, there became quite a bit of fighting among the seniors and they were
not able to make some decisions and to deal with the financing, so it was agreed that there would be directors
appointed. All the expenditures went through the seniors, were approved by the seniors and agreed to by the
seniors. But, unfortunately, prior to it becoming the director’s requirement to address the finances, in actual
fact the seniors had made commitments and had done a fair number of expenditures at that time.



MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister’s response raises many questions, like, is it normally the
practice for the minister to appoint directors? Where does the money come from?



I want to direct another question, first of all, to the minister if I may, Mr. Speaker. It was her
executive assistant who wrote to the president of the Harbourview Senior Citizens Club on June 7th, saying
that in fact they were taking over. It was that group that spent the money, so that the lock had to be changed
and put on the doors. Some of that money was dispersed to the executive assistant of the minister herself.



My question to the minister is quite simply this, has the minister investigated why some of that
money was dispersed to her own executive assistant and if that is the common practice, even though he was
a director of that, that money was dispersed to himself, and is that a common practice to allow that kind of
handling of public funds?



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, no, that is not a common practice and yes, I did investigate it.



MR. HOLM: Will the minister table in this House, before we rise today, the results of the
investigation she conducted into the expenditure of that money? Also, she may wish to tell us which line item
it came from.



MS. JOLLY: Mr. Speaker, as this expenditure was done in conjunction with the Harbourview Senior
Citizens Club, before I was able to put out any information, I would certainly have to talk with the club, the
president of that club and to see what their feelings were on it, so I certainly would do that.



MR. HOLM: It wasn’t their money.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



JUSTICE - GUYS. CO.: COURT CLOSURES - POSTPONE



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the Premier, if I could. I would
like to make reference again to the speech which the Premier made in the election campaign, which he has
acknowledged making. He said in that speech that we will, speaking for his Party, preserve the way of life in
rural communities by using the communications technology that Nova Scotia companies are developing for
world markets. For example, a Liberal Government will postpone - not maybe or when we get in there and
see things - the phasing out of court closures and registries until communities like Sherbrooke and
Guysborough can access new technology to replace that service.



My question to the Premier is, will the Premier give the commitment today - notwithstanding the
report that issued earlier from the Minister of Justice - that he will make good on his promise, as made in that
speech, and, in fact, order the postponement of the phasing out of the courts and the registries, until the
technology to replace that is available in Guysborough County?



THE PREMIER: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the courts are not phased out and the honourable member
opposite knows that. We have postponed it for two years, in an effort to try and deal with this. Given the mess
that we inherited, it is amazing that we have been able to do the things that we have done.



What I have said and what we will continue to do is to provide services as electronically and as
efficiently as possible to the people in Guysborough and they have my commitment on that. We will attempt
to do that at the earliest opportunity.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, I note that that is a two year postponement that was not provided to certain
other communities in the Province of Nova Scotia. The frustration, of course, with the answer from the
Premier is that it is so typical of his answers, so totally open-ended, when we get there and when the
technology is ready and so on.



[12:30 p.m.]



My first supplementary question, if I may, Mr. Speaker, through you on this issue, I would like to
go back to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency. In the media bumpf that talked about the Cabinet
Secretariat to be set up in Guysborough County, Team Guysborough and so on, it was said that by establishing
the secretariat described in the press release and setting up Team Guysborough, we have channelled our
resources and have a few ideas to present to the people of the area. I wonder if the Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency would recount for the House here today the few ideas for economic development which have,
in fact, been presented to the people and the community leaders in the County of Guysborough?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting, we talk about debt and deficit in this
province and in response to this question, part of the legacy, the almost unforgivable legacy of the previous
government, was the way in which government operated in concert with communities like this. Not only was
there a Cabinet Secretariat set up to make sure that there was inter-departmental cooperation but on the
ground in Guysborough and here in Halifax, as well, there were teams set up to make sure that the
implications of health reform and other reforms were offset by the most innovative, the most inter-departmental, the most holistic, the most sustainable decision-making in terms of the future of Guysborough.



There are, in fact, examples and I have asked the MLA across the floor to provide me with the
examples, not just the examples that the honourable member across has of some of the private sector losses
that have taken place, as well as those public sector jobs, but also the impact of some of the innovative ideas
that have come out of community-based decision-making. I would be pleased, as I have said, to table any time
in this House the kinds of information on the progress we are making in communities throughout this
province. There has been progress made in Guysborough. I would be happy to table that progress tomorrow
as soon as we can put the facts together with the MLA across and my own department.



Suffice it to say that the inter-departmental team that formed both here in Halifax and in
Guysborough is having some impact. It is making a difference. It is providing sustainable employment at the
same time as there are losses in some public sector positions.



MR. DONAHOE: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister’s undertaking that he will table here
tomorrow a document which I presume will show among other things the “few ideas” which were presented
or to be presented by Team Guysborough. I presume he is indicating that he is making a commitment to me
and to the House to table a document which will show the pluses and the minuses, the job losses that have
been experienced in Guysborough County since this government took office and the (Interruption) pardon me?



Well, if you want to play politics, (Interruptions) if you want to play politics, you can play politics.
What the taxpayers are interested in, is whether or not the promises, commitments and hopes that were raised
by this Premier and by this government, that they were going to be serious about community economic
development, is being realized anywhere in the context of today’s exchange, in Guysborough County.



So I take it, Mr. Speaker, that the commitment - and I know I have to close - I have from the Minister
for the ERA is that he will provide a document tomorrow which shows what new ideas and proposals have
been presented by Team Guysborough to Guysborough County, what the job additions have been since this
government took place and what the job losses have been in that same timeframe?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the gentleman opposite is putting words in my mouth to a certain
extent here. It is not the creative ideas of government. That is the problem with the previous regime. The fact
is, what I talked about was an inter-departmental team that meets with the community to establish and bring
out ideas. Coastal 2000 (Applause) We are not talking about a government that has a monopoly on good ideas
for economic development in Guysborough, we are talking about a partnership between communities that are
hard-pressed. (Interruption) The same partnership, if you recall, that stood by Stora at a time when more
Guysborough jobs were affected, that stood by Stora. If that didn’t make a difference in the communities of
Guysborough and that stood by Guysborough at a time when in the absence (Interruptions)



MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. One member at a time.



The honourable Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has the floor.



MR. HARRISON: If I can have just a moment to explain that what we will attempt to table, not just
here but, first and foremost, in the communities of this province, is the commitment to sustainable
employment, is the commitment to sustainable economic recovery, is a commitment to a partnership where
the ideas don’t simply come from Halifax to communities or communities, even, to Halifax, but that we bring
the communities to the world and the world of opportunities to the communities of this province. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



ERA - AMHERST: JOB CREATION - NEGOTIATIONS



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency. The minister will recall that the former minister and the Minister of Education - the
minister of school milk, last week - when they closed the school in Amherst there was a commitment from
those two ministers to provide 75 government jobs in the area to make up for the jobs that were gone when
they closed the School for the Deaf. When I last asked the minister about the status of the 75 jobs, the minister
was unable to provide a clear, concise answer to the people of Cumberland County. So, today, can the minister
confirm that he is now negotiating the relocation of 75 government jobs with the Nova Scotia Government
Employees Union?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: As I recall, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that this honourable gentleman
asked the question last time, but the answer that I gave to the other honourable gentleman who did, was that
there are some 1,200 jobs that have been created in Amherst since the announced closure of the facility that
was not sustainable inter-provincially; 1,200 jobs in Amherst, 500 of them by the efforts of the community
economic development authority in the area, just for starters.



The other thing that was part of the answer, the other element that was part of that answer was a
commitment that has been made to those people to attempt to relocate, to find opportunities for relocating
public sector employment in the area of Amherst. We make a commitment that is two-fold here, in terms of
sustainable economic opportunities. One is to enhance the competitiveness of Amherst and region, in terms
of attracting private sector employment, and the other is to explore every opportunity for public sector
relocation.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister. Again, I would question the minister and my
question is simply, was the commitment made by the two ministers, the former minister and the Minister of
Education, was that just another broken Liberal promise to the people of Cumberland County?



MR. SPEAKER: That is not a very nice question, but anyway (Interruptions) The honourable
Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency has the floor.



MR. HARRISON: It is not a nice question, Mr. Speaker, because what it does is it portrays the
questioner as having a certain righteousness to even ask the question in the first place.



MR. SPEAKER: Well, I don’t know if that is a nice answer either. (Laughter)



MR. HARRISON: Given the fact that we have the former Chairman of the Management Board, in
terms of promises to Nova Scotians, the whole point of the Management Board, as we were chastised
yesterday, was to make coordinated policy for the holistic management of the province; $9 billion of debt later,
I wonder how the former Chairman of the Management Board can ask me a question about broken promises.
(Applause)



As I have indicated to the former Chairman of the Management Board of the Province of Nova
Scotia, we are honouring every commitment in terms of trying to find public sector relocation, but much more
importantly, the commitment to sustain community economic development authorities in the area that can
live up to their commitments to the people of Amherst, to maintain 500 jobs to meet their target and to create
another 700 private sector jobs in the same timeframe. (Applause)



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, I agree with you, that wasn’t a very nice answer. I am sure the
minister is aware that Phase Atlantic Company is setting up a factory in Moncton and they will be employing
175 people in good, long-term jobs, apparently. Can the minister indicate what steps he took to try to get
Phase Atlantic to set up in Amherst rather than in Moncton?



MR. HARRISON: Specifically, I don’t have the answer to the honourable member’s question. It is
a wonderful opportunity to talk though about the so-called competitiveness with New Brunswick. The fact is
that there will be untold opportunities for making comparisons in Nova Scotia as we get buffeted around by
forces that are international and out of our control, even inter-provincial that are out of our control.



I can assure the member opposite and the honourable gentleman to his left, both provincially and
perhaps ideologically, that travelling around and selling Nova Scotia whether it is on a G-7 platform in the
capitals of Europe or whether it is in Guysborough, is a privilege. The fact is, we may lose some opportunities
but we are going to win a lot more opportunities over time. I can assure you that 1,200 people that are now
working in Amherst are delighted with the fact of the accomplishments not only of their economic
development authority but of the sales that were done in this province, of this province by the former minister,
by the government and by the people of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury with a brief
introduction.



MR. RAYMOND WHITE: Mr. Speaker, through you and to the members of the House I wish to
introduce Warden Ronnie Chisholm, Councillor David Veinot, Municipal Clerk Helen MacDonald, in the
west gallery; and in the east gallery Councillor Gordon MacDonald from the District of St. Mary’s and I would
ask if they would stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



ERA - ACCOMMODATIONS: LICENSES - EXPIRATION



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: My question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency.
Information has reached me and I would appreciate his, either confirmation or denial that that information
which has come my way is accurate or otherwise. Can the minister confirm that the licenses for hotels and
bed and breakfast facilities as well as unique country inns across the province have all expired on March 31st
of this year?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I can neither confirm nor deny that, I simply was asked that question
on the way in. I asked my deputy to find out whether or not there has been some technical delay but the
answer, I can’t provide at this moment but will before the House ends I am sure.



MR. DONAHOE: I wonder if by way of supplementary if the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency will make a point and a promise and a commitment to this House that he inquire as to whether or not,
if in fact, there are technical glitches or administrative snafus or whatever (Interruption) If you would let me
finish, if the rabbits across the way would let me finish you would get the question. I wonder if the minister
would determine if any of those technical glitches or snafus are caused by reason of the fact that this minister
and his officials are bogged down in negotiations with Canada Select in the effort to establish and develop
a new rating system for the accommodation industry in relation to which I know this minister knows there
is great controversy and concern about the equity and fairness of that rating system as it relates to hotels and
motels on the one hand and bed and breakfasts and unique country inns on the other. Would he specifically
inquire as to whether or not there is a technical glitch in that regard?



MR. HARRISON: That information I don’t have to call over to the department to get because, in fact,
the issue as we have discussed in this House before of a rating system for the Tourism Industry Association
of Nova Scotia is one that is necessary if we are attracting international and national and interprovincial
business to the province, the customers have to know, based on a rating system, exactly what sort of quality
to expect in accommodation. There are some difficulties in terms of some of the sectors of the tourism industry
that don’t lend themselves to objective rating that are, in fact, almost one could argue more connoisseurship
in nature and require a different sensitive rating that allows bed and breakfasts and country inns, both of
which are unique in many aspects to have some sort of a way of rating themselves or being rated that allows
customers, again, to know what sort of quality they can expect when they put their dollar down or make their
reservations.



[12:45 p.m.]



We are working with that industry. Any time you are striving for a consensus there is an element of
controversy. As I have said to the honourable member before in this House, there is a pledge to ensure that
that very important element of our industry in this province is fully informed, fully consulted and as onside
as we can possibly get the industry to a rating system that is fair to their particular sector of the tourism
industry.



So, in simple response, are they connected, no.



MR. DONAHOE: Well, the minister says, are they connected and he says, no, and I am not so sure
that his answer satisfies me that the right answer is no. Tourism season is upon us, we have G-7, of which
he is so proud and travels the world talking about, upon us and I simply want to ask this minister what I think
is a pretty precise and direct question and doesn’t require anything much more than a yes or no answer.



Is it not, through you, Mr. Speaker, the opinion of this minister that it is just simply not sensible
when we are rating - and I agree there should be a rating of bed and breakfasts and country inns and so on -
does this minister not agree that it is simply not sensible that the same criteria that are established and pertain
to rating Chateau Halifax and the Sheraton Hotel are in large measure and in many elements not at all
relevant to the rating of the bed and breakfast and the country inn and that, therefore, it is incumbent upon
him, in the very shortest time possible, to ensure that there is a rating system in place as the tourism season
is upon us to ensure that there is a reasonable rating system for bed and breakfast and country inns that is not
the same criteria as pertains to the large hotels and motels of this province? Does he agree that that distinction
is essential and it should be made immediately and made public immediately?



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, I hear comments about repetition, in fact, we have had this
discussion once before and each time we have it, I make the same commitment. First of all, the bed and
breakfasts and country inns are an essential part of the tourism fabric and tapestry of this province. They are
jewels in the crown of tourism. They must be treated with respect by whatever rating system is developed. We
are spending $100,000 to sit down with the country inns and bed and breakfasts to try to devise something,
in partnership with ACOA that gets the job done.



You have had this commitment, the honourable member has had this commitment from me before,
he will get it again today, it has been made to the industry, we are working literally daily with them to ensure
that the very concerns expressed so eloquently by the honourable member are addressed in such a manner that
all elements of the tourism industry feel a part of a rating system that is fair to their particular contribution
to an $850 million, soon to be over $1 billion, industry which is so important to this province. Each and every
member of that tapestry, that fabric, those elements, are important to this province.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



JUSTICE - CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: POST - ADVERTISE



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Justice. It is a
year and one-half, Mr. Speaker, since the Justice Department began negotiations to terminate the employment
of the province’s chief medical examiner. A year ago the minister introduced legislation to effectively displace
the long-serving chief medical examiner by stipulating specialized forensic pathology training as a
prerequisite for the position.



I wonder if the Justice Minister can explain why there has not even yet been a job posting or any
public advertising to recruit a new chief medical examiner?



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, it was only recently that Dr. Perry retired. I have had a
number of discussions with my senior officials with regard to advertising. As I understand it, the
advertisement for the new chief medical examiner should be appearing imminently.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, it is true that Dr. Perry’s employment was only effectively
terminated March 1st, but that is three months ago and it is 20 months since the government clearly signalled
its intentions to recruit a new chief medical examiner on the basis that this was extremely important, that
police officers, prosecutors and victims of crime in this province desperately required the services of a fully
qualified chief medical examiner who can bring the best forensic skills and evidence to our justice system.



How has this slipped from being a priority, given that it is 20 months since this department began
this process? What is to be the recruitment and hiring process, who will be carrying it out and when can we
expect an appointment to be made?



MR. GILLIS: The honourable member mentioned that Dr. Perry left approximately on March 1st
and went on to say it was three months. I would suggest that the math skills of the honourable member are
not that great because that sounds like two months and a couple of days to me.



As I said, we are very actively pursuing this matter and the advertisement will imminently appear.
I am very much aware that we need to get on with this, but we had to wait until Dr. Perry went. I do realize
it is two months and a couple of days; maybe that seems like too long but we want to make sure that it is
shaped properly. We could not advertise. You could talk about 20 months. We certainly would think it would
be unseemly to advertise for a new chief medical examiner when we had one, but we are going to get on with
it and we will provide the type of forensic services needed in Nova Scotia.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, the minister didn’t indicate how the hiring process will be
conducted, so perhaps he would be willing to do that in response to my final supplementary, and I wonder if
the minister could indicate what the current provisions are for forensic pathology services that are required
in the meantime?



MR. GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, my math skills tell me that is two questions, the hiring process and what
is going on now. I assure all honourable members that the hiring process will be fair, it will be advertised and
will establish a committee of people with knowledge who can evaluate the type of person we want to fill this
very important job. So I think that is very clear on that.



In the meantime, we have had a person who has been administrating the program and all of the
autopsies have been held and have been carried out in a proper manner and the person who is a pathologist
who is overseeing that is seeing that it is being done properly. I am not aware of any complaints from the Bar
Society or the police, who are most directly involved.



I want to assure all honourable members that I share the concern with doing this job right. I think
the proclamation of the new Act, which just went through recently now that Dr. Perry has departed, this will
be looked after, it is something that is important and I want to say that it was a priority for me. It took some
time but it was done properly and carefully. The new person will come and will do the job properly, too.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.












TRANSPORT.: SECONDARY ROADS - MAINTENANCE PLAN



MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Transportation
and Communications. As you know, the Liberal Government came to power back on May 25, 1993, and in
spite of the fact that we now are in our third construction season, many constituencies across this province
have not received a single kilometre of paving or repaving on secondary roads; in fact, in some ridings paved
roads are being repaired with gravel and gravel patching.



My question to the minister is simply this. During the 1993 election campaign, his Party campaigned
and tabled a document, Fairness in Government policy. He stated that within six months of forming a
government, he would publicly table a three year secondary road maintenance plan with sufficient flexibility
to provide for emergency road work, emergency road repair. Now I want to ask the minister, would he be so
kind as to table that three year plan today?



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, let’s straighten this out from the outset. When we got here
in May, I guess when we were sworn in, I guess in June of 1993, the entire capital budget had been expended
for the year. In fact one of the first tasks of this government, a very enviable task, was not to award 22
contracts that had been put out during the election campaign . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, that sounds like politics.



MR. MANN: So, to suggest that this administration was responsible for any kilometres of asphalt
put down in 1993 is misleading. We will accept full responsibility for the work done in 1994 and 1995, the
program has yet to be determined. So, to say that there have been three years, is completely misleading this
House, Mr. Speaker.



Mr. Speaker, we attempted in the fall of 1993 and 1994, to come up with a matrix if you will, that
would put some credibility in the designation of projects across the province for road work. The problem you
had, and we have gone through this in the House before with the Acting Leader of the NDP, is when we
attempted to do this. When you put in a factor such as traffic volume, it completely throws out of proportion
any other factors which would be involved in determining where road work would be done. For example, it
is pretty difficult using traffic volume to compare an unpaved road in say, rural Antigonish County to
Highway No. 1 in Sackville. In fact, if you applied that type of matrix, there would be no work done in this
province outside of one or two roads, where most of the population was in this province.



So, what we have done, through our engineering staff, is that we have been using criteria, and I will
table the criteria. The member, by the way, has written to me and told me point blank, the member for
Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, that he agrees with the process we are using.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I agreed with the process that was laid out in the Fairness in
Government policy, (Applause) but that member is clearly not following the Fairness in Government policy.
I agreed with that document and that member is participating in pork-barrel politics and we have records to
document it.



MR. SPEAKER: I ask for a question, please, not an accusation. A question.



MR. TAYLOR: The question is simply this, Mr. Speaker. I would like to ask the Minister of
Transportation, in his capacity as Government House Leader, if he might advise me as to whether or not there
is a provincial ethics counsellor, who I may refer the Minister of Transportation and Communications to? A
similar request that has been asked in Ottawa respecting the provincial Public Works Minister?



MR. SPEAKER: Is that question addressed to the Premier?



MR. TAYLOR: I am asking through you to the minister.



MR. MANN: Talk about that type of politics he is referring to, I would go back and refer to 22
contracts that I had to cancel following the 1993 election campaign, because it far exceeded what any capital
budget could have been in this province. Mr. Speaker, you don’t need to ask too many professional people
involved with staff of the Department of Transportation and Communications, what the basis of awarding
those contracts were in 1993, it is not magic, no secret. That member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley,
went further than to endorse the process. Maybe he doesn’t realize it. Maybe he needs a refresher.



Mr. Speaker, we asked the professional engineers to go out and determine a list of priorities based
on the criteria we gave them. That member asked for a list of those priorities in his riding. We shared that
list with him and he wrote back to me and I would be willing to table both of these letters saying he agrees
wholeheartedly, precisely and unanimously with the professional engineers using the criteria we established.
(Applause)



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I guess in the minister’s capacity as Government House Leader, I think
he is trying to tell me there is no provincial ethics counsellor. I think that is what he is trying to tell me.



AN HON. MEMBER: Do you know?



MR. SPEAKER: I don’t believe that question could be properly addressed to the Minister of
Transportation in any event, unless it was a departmental ethics counsellor, but not one for government as
a whole.



MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, then, to the Minister of Transportation and Communications by way
of a final supplementary, I think he admitted that he doesn’t have a three year secondary road plan. Does he
have a needs-based road assessment matrix? He told us that it was going to determine road construction and
maintenance projects. Has he yet developed that matrix program or plan?



MR. MANN: Mr. Speaker, I would put my plans and the Department of Transportation up against
the old system any day. The tales are legendary in the department, about people with tender documents
prepared, have worked all weekend to get tender documents prepared, and on Monday morning the phone
would ring and a certain minister would call, change the plan. That is the old style. I will give him. The
member for Queens wants to talk about Cape Breton.



[1:00 p.m.]



AN HON. MEMBER: Is he the one with the coloured files?



MR. MANN: Yes. Remember the colour-coded files. The member for Queens wants to yell across
the floor about Cape Breton. There is the member that admitted today he would have preferred to see Stora
shut down than to get support from this government. Well, Mr. Speaker, I will not see that happen. We will
put our process up against anyone’s process. That member opposite, for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, we
will give him the criteria he seeks, the criteria that was used to develop the priorities, that he agrees with
wholeheartedly.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.



ERA: EMPLOYEES - SEVERANCE POLICY



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: I would like to ask the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency
a question, through you, Mr. Speaker. My question is, on April 6th, I asked the minister if he would explain
the government’s policy with respect to severance packages for employees who have resigned. The minister
was unable to answer the question at the time and I wonder if the minister has had the opportunity to find out
what the policy is with regard to severance when employees resign?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question that day, although it was
based on non-confirmed response, was that it probably varies according to various contracts. The answer is
confirmed. That is, in fact, the case.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Could the minister confirm today that former Deputy Minister Art Battiste did
in fact resign and receive a severance package at the time of his resignation?



MR. HARRISON: Yes.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, again to the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency, would
the minister tell Nova Scotians what the severance package was that the former deputy minister received?



MR. HARRISON: The details, Mr. Speaker, are such that he received, I believe, six months
severance, at the time of his departure.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.



ERA - AMHERST: TOURIST BUREAU - STATUS



MR. DONALD MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency. Last week in the House I asked the Minister of Transportation and Communications a question in
regard to the entrance to the tourist bureau at Amherst. The minister may remember that I questioned the
former minister on several occasions during the last session about the entrance to that bureau. In fact, we had
suggested that the Premier -and the Premier did agree at that time to get involved, to ask the Province of New
Brunswick to give us the authority to change the entrance to the bureau. Can the minister bring me up-to-date
on where that is today?



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, New Brunswick, in fact, did agree in principle, in terms
of their side of the equation. There are some legal concerns that are still being dealt with in Transportation
and Communications. There is a twofold process here. One is to do the short-term work, in compliance with
the laws of our province and New Brunswick, obviously, and also to look at long-term solutions to entrance
points in the province, in terms of tourism. So, we have a twofold initiative going on. One is to clear up the
legal concerns raised by the Department of Transportation and Communications of Nova Scotia in response
to the New Brunswick agreement in principle to do short-term work in accordance with the commitments
made but, more importantly, to fold into a more long-term strategy for welcoming tourists to Nova Scotia not
only at the Amherst border but also in other places.



MR. MCINNES: You know, this government has been elected since June 1993. This question has
been raised. Amherst is the largest entry point to Nova Scotia. Tourism is a very important industry in this
province, going to be almost, the minister says himself, $1 billion. Here we have the bureau, which is very
difficult to get access to. It can be, but it would be very simple, it is not difficult - I am not an engineer, but
I was there. (Interruption) You have something to say? Well, say it.



MR. SPEAKER: Just a moment. The honourable member for Pictou West has the floor. Just carry
on. Put your question.



AN HON. MEMBER Who designed that bridge?



MR. MCINNES: Mr. Speaker, that’s fine, the route was designed. I am telling you that an engineer
can drive in there and look at it - and it is not difficult - the old bridge is there, maybe there are some repairs
to be done to it, but it would look like a very simple process to do. I would just ask the minister, because of
the importance of tourism in this province, will he get on with it and get it done?



MR. HARRISON: There are a lot of features. Mr. Speaker, we talked about a sort of a deficit of
decision-making here. It seems to me that had one had it to do all over again, in terms of the design of the
highway and trying to recapture the intimacy of the welcoming point that was there prior to the design of the
highway, that we wouldn’t have to do both a short-term and long-term solution now.



We are working at getting on with it. There are interprovincial decision points and legal points that
have to be considered here. In fact, the original design didn’t take into consideration the recapture of that
important crossing and the honourable member well knows - in fact, he may have been Minister of
Transportation of the day - it was something that was overlooked. It is something that needs to be fixed but
there is no point in fixing things just in the short term, what we want to try and recapture at every entrance
point, whether that is in Portland, Maine, in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia or in North Sydney, at every entrance
and egress point we have to be able to say to the tourists of Nova Scotia who are coming here, you are
welcome and you are welcome in a way that is unique in the world.



MR. MCINNES: I appreciate the minister’s answer, but I am not talking about the entrance to
Yarmouth and I am not talking about the entrance at Caribou, I am talking about the entrance at Amherst.
Perhaps our government made a mistake, sure we made mistakes, and that is why you guys are over there and
that is why you had better not be making too many mistakes or we will be back over there again. So, let’s get
on with it. (Applause)



MR. HARRISON: Mr. Speaker, we have had a cathartic moment here in the House of Assembly
where we have actually admitted that it was an accumulative thing. I would like to suggest that when we go
about fixing the problems that we have an eye on fiscal, on social and on environmental responsibilities. If
we are trying to recapture the intimacy of Amherst and the piper and all of the things that tourists for years
and years and years enjoyed and appreciated about the welcome to Nova Scotia if they were driving across
the marshes, we will not only fix the mistake temporarily, but we will fix it for all time. We will make sure
that it is a state of the art welcoming centre that has all of the intimacy that Nova Scotians are known
throughout the world for in terms of their hospitality industry. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



COMMUN. SERV. - PHARMACARE: DRUG COVERAGE - CATASTROPHIC



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question through you to the
Minister of Community Services. The minister was approached a year ago now, I believe, by individuals and
alerted to the situation of individuals who were faced with very high drug costs, known more commonly as
catastrophic drug costs, who were required to go on social assistance in order to be eligible for the Pharmacare
coverage.



Mr. Speaker, the minister’s department has yet to respond on that question. I would like to ask him,
is he going to continue to allow this situation to exist where people are required to go on social assistance in
order to qualify for Pharmacare coverage so they can afford the catastrophic drug costs?



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there are two programs within Community Services and the
Family Benefits Program and that is single parents and disabled persons. So for being on the program of
social assistance within the department you would have to meet one of two criteria. There have been attempts
to maintain Pharmacare programs within those groups, especially when there is impact of other income or
pensions or some other issue where there is income that comes in.



I would say that there are many situations within our department where we deal with individuals,
particularly single parents with illnesses, particularly where there is overlap, two situations, not only as a
single parent but with an illness, that we certainly address not only the drug program and their drug needs
but, also, other support programs in the home. So there are many examples throughout the numbers that we
see at this juncture of some 32,000 people on the program, that individual assessments are made and met. We
do that on an individual basis, Mr. Speaker.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister knows there are too many situations of individuals who
have catastrophic drug costs. In fact his government, their Liberal health policy in 1993 talked about the fact
that they were aware of that and said we will look at ways to create better access to needed and effective
prescription medications for these individuals.



The problem for some people, Mr. Speaker, is that this is providing or creating a barrier, an obstacle
for them to find meaningful employment.



I would like to ask the minister, in accordance with the Liberal health policy presented to the public
of Nova Scotia in 1993, has his government, in fact, come up with a program? If not, will they come up with
a program in the immediate future to deal with this very serious and tragic situation?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there are several different areas where initiatives must be taken and have
been taken. We have seen the changes to seniors’ program to maintain universality and to actually maintain
that program. So every program of government is being evaluated.



Within our particular Family Benefits Program, as relative to the Pharmacare Program, of those two
initiatives, there have been no changes made whatsoever in that program. We are trying to maintain that as
we go.



The long-term initiatives where those are earning income, those people and low wage earners, that
is certainly a consideration. It is one that the Minister of Health has commented on as early as this morning
when we met with groups of seniors from around this province. So it is a major concern, I think as the
Minister of Finance has said, every program of government is to be evaluated. We must build in sustainability
and we are doing that. Within our department we are trying to do what we can, mainly on an individual basis.
We cannot offer programs that are across the board for specific illnesses. We are dealing with people here and
we are trying to do early intervention programs to meet those in need.



MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, to the minister, my second supplementary to him is, given the fact
that there are situations where individuals are prevented from finding meaningful employment because of
catastrophic drug costs, given the fact that he has spent some time and energy and funds at identifying people
who, as a result of fraud, are not eligible for family benefits, will he put the same kind of energy and
commitment into resolving the problem of catastrophic drug costs which prevent people who are now on
family benefits from finding meaningful employment, just in order to be able to afford those drugs costs
through the Pharmacare Program?



DR. SMITH: Mr. Speaker, there are several questions and issues there but they are good questions
and important issues and ones that we are trying to deal with. The Compass Program, where we have dealt
with those who are disabled - it is a four part program - part of that is an initiative to help those on social
assistance, either municipal or provincial, back into the work force and through initiatives.



As far as the catastrophic drug costs, then certainly they will be considered on an individual basis.
I think I would suggest there are very few Nova Scotians who are suffering from catastrophic drug costs.
When we speak in tens of thousands of dollars, like we know that there is, we heard this morning there are
some people under our programs receiving drugs up to $100,000 a year in this province, so this government
is very sensitive to those issues.



Mr. Speaker, I will be brief, I would comment on the initiatives of the eligibility review. Now the
honourable member is, I think, saying that in some way there is some unfairness and inequality there. I am
saying to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia that we have skilled family benefits workers that are eligibility
reviewed. They are not cops, they are not going and turning over rocks and looking for fraud. We are doing
eligibility review by sensitive and caring members of our department and we are trying to target those in need,
we are trying to be credible and accountable to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. That is what we are trying to do.



If we uncover matters of fraud then, I am sorry, but we have to act on that and that is our
responsibility to the taxpayers.












[1:15 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North, we have one minute remaining.



ERA: SEVERANCE PACKAGES - UNFAIR



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: My question is for the Minister of Economic Renewal. A moment ago
the Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency indicated that a gentleman who worked for about 12 months
was given six months pay. Last Friday seven teachers were laid off at Kingstec, 51 mechanical branch
employees were laid off. The nurses at the Berwick and the Wolfville hospitals were laid off and they didn’t
get anything like a six months severance package and it is totally not fair. This person resigned and he got
six months pay. These people were fired and they didn’t get treated as well. Where is the fairness in that
package for the deputy minister that resigned and were there other items in the package besides the money
that you haven’t told us about?



MR. SPEAKER: I don’t know really what to do here. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period
has expired. With the agreement of the House, one minute for the minister to answer.



HON. ROBERT HARRISON: I rise on a point of order given the fact that Question Period is over.
First of all, to correct the information given earlier, it was actually five months salary. You asked for accurate
information, there was a $35,000 (Interruption)



MR. SPEAKER: I do rule that the time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired. We will
have another Question Period tomorrow, 90 minutes in length. Very possibly these issues can be canvassed
at that time.



MR. HARRISON: With a clarification for the record on the question asked, the response given was,
I think six months. In fact, it was five months and $35,000.



The other question which was raised earlier about the issue of licenses, the fact is that the tourism
operators of the province have been given notices by the department indicating that there will be a delay in
licensing as a result of regulations and an Act that was proclaimed some time ago. In response to the question
of the Leader of the Opposition as to the details of the technical reasons for the delay in licenses, that is the
reason that, in fact, the regulations were proclaimed, letters have gone out to the operators indicating that that
is the case.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: May I rise on a slight point of order, and ask that the honourable
minister be given the time to finish his point of order. He had time to tell us that it was five months not six,
I want to know about the rest of the package that was given to that man.



MR. SPEAKER: With deference now, order, please.



THE PREMIER: I just want to rise on a point of order. I referred in my remarks to a postponement
and I should have backed that up by information so I want to table the information to which I referred,
Department of the Attorney General, Courts & Registries Division, the referral and the recommendations
were, in fact, filed by the previous government in February 1993.



MR. SPEAKER: The document is tabled.



With reference to the other points of order that were raised. I think it seems quite clear that there was
an attempt to carry on the Question Period after it had expired in the guise of points of order. We will have
our Question Period tomorrow and it will be 90 minutes in length so that all these questions can be raised and
answered at that time.



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government
Motions.



GOVERNMENT MOTIONS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House
resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.



MR. SPEAKER: I see several members rising to their feet. The honourable member for Lunenburg.



MRS. LILA O’CONNOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have given this yesterday but I was unable
to be here and I apologize that what I am talking about are health issues and not education. I would like to
talk about the role of the Lunenburg County VON and the delivery of home care.



In 1987 doctors and nurses saw a need for home care nursing in Lunenburg County. They were under
the impression that in 1988 home care would be established in the province. In the fall of 1987, a steering
committee was formed to see if it was possible to form a VON branch in Lunenburg County. After working
all winter with a dedicated group of individuals from across Lunenburg County, the 13th branch in Nova
Scotia of the Victorian Order of Nurses was formed. The steering committee was urged to ready the branch
for service in the spring of 1988, and we were.



We had hired our executive director. The Lions Clubs in Mahone Bay, Bridgewater and New
Germany had bought the VON a car, we had office space, funding from five municipalities and borrowed from
VON Nova Scotia. We were ready for our first home care patient. Yet that was not to be. These things that
we had worked hard to have ready were put on hold. Why? Home care had to wait for the 1988 election.



In September 1988, Lunenburg County VON had its first patient. Within a short time, VON had to
hire nurses and approximately 75 per cent to 95 per cent of the VON’s case load was home care.



In the first year we were busier than we could imagine. Home care commenced in Lunenburg County
on September 1, 1988 and 2,000 visits were made between then and March 1989. Of these, 1,823 were home
care visits. There were 18 free cases and 81 clients seen at a cost of between $10 and $15, yet residents of
Lunenburg County could not understand why the VON had to fund raise. The VON is a non-profit
organization. Fund raising is always necessary as many people do not have the ability to pay the full nursing
fee and are not eligible for home care because they do not meet home care criteria or, if they did receive home
care but needed a nurse more than once a day. If the VON could not convince the Department of Health to
pay for this visit, then the VON would visit free.



Lunenburg County has three constituencies within its boundaries. The VON has three offices; a main
office in Lunenburg, a sub-office free in Chester and a sub-office in Bridgewater.



By 1991 the word, waitlisted, became a dreaded word to home care and especially to the VON. That
meant that when we had reached the amount the Department of Health would pay for service, the VON could
not offer service to its patients. I will say the VON was always warned it was reaching its amount. In June
1993, for a month and a half, the VON in Lunenburg County were waitlisted.



Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell a story of a patient who received home care in Lunenburg County.
This is a woman who is a double amputee, has diabetes, high blood pressure and has heart problems. She had
the VON come in two or three times a week. They would look after getting her needles ready for her diabetes
and they would check her. One day two people arrived at her door when there was no one else home. They
came in to tell her that they were no longer going to have the VON come to her home and visit her or to get
her needles ready for her diabetes. They gave no warning, they just cut her off completely. This lady had to
stay home by herself for two hours and was upset, wondering what was going to happen to her. That is not
fair.



What do you tell your patients? Sorry, we can’t come and change that dressing, remove that catheter,
take your blood pressure. Those of you who know the VON motto, we give the same service to all, regardless
of race, colour, creed or ability to pay.



The Lunenburg County VON had made the decision, we would not let anyone go without service.
That is where we would fund raise. The VON would cut back somewhere else, not in quality of service. If you
are wondering why I am always saying “we”, it is because I had the privilege of being on the steering
committee to bring the VON into Lunenburg County and I was on the board of directors from the beginning
until 1993. I want to thank the VON staff, they donated time when they knew the money wasn’t there.



What had started in 1988 as 75 per cent to 95 per cent of service to home care had, by 1993, months
that home care was a low as 25 per cent to 35 per cent. The number of patients who could not afford to pay
or those who could only $2.00 or $5.00 or $10 grew.



Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia was excited in 1987 to hear that home care was coming to this province.
In 1988 it was an election promise; today it is not an election promise, it is a need that this government sees
and is doing something about. The new Home Care Program will not have an age limit, it is not for those
within a salary level and home care will not be five days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The VON assistance
in the Home Care Program has been and will be seven days a week, 24 hours a day.



Mr. Speaker, on June 1st the Home Care Program will be a program that we can be proud of. Thank
you. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Mr. Speaker, today I received a telephone call from a constituent, a businessman
in the Town of Liverpool. This gentleman and his wife operate a small business on the main street of our
town. He expressed to me, in measures of great frustration, how concerned he and the other business people
and, indeed, the people of my community are with the policy adopted by this government, to begin to shut
down rural Nova Scotia. I listened to that gentleman who, with his wife, has put every penny that they can
muster into this small business. I understood their frustration, because as government activity moves out of
the small towns and the villages of our communities across this province and into the regional centres that
are designated by this government, that means that the spending associated with those people and the
economic activity associated with those jobs and the presence of those jobs in our community is eroded and
flow instead into the regional centres of the province. That goes a very long way towards eroding not only
local economies but, by reasonable extenuation, the quality of life in our towns and our villages across this
province.



In my own constituency, I think of the changes in the administration of justice: the loss of probate
court, the loss of Supreme Court, the fact that the Minister of Justice has indicated to the municipality of the
County of Queens that he has no interest in the court-house in Liverpool and that leaves us to wonder where,
in fact, court will sit as the future unfolds.



We look at the erosion of the presence of what was the Department of Health service, now the service
provided by the Department of the Environment, in my constituency. Where once we had a full-time health
officer and a secretary who was able to answer the phone when the health officer was out carrying out her
duties, making inspections throughout the community, that secretary was retired and was never replaced and
now there is nobody there to answer the phone and it is causing delays and frustrations for business people
and for clients of then the Department of Health now the Department of the Environment in our community.



We have seen an attempt made to significantly reduce the capacity of our hospital to meet the needs
of our community. We were successful in fighting that initiative and under our own initiative, largely as the
result of a tremendous cross-community effort to convince the government that what was in the books was
not appropriate for our community and, I believe, not appropriate for Nova Scotia in the larger measure.



I look at neighbouring communities as well. The Town of Lunenburg is suffering in much the same
way as the Town of Liverpool with respect to losing out to the regional centre. It is impacting in the Town
of Lunenburg with respect to the adjustment of the Justice facilities. It is also very greatly impacting in the
Town of Lunenburg with respect to the role played out by Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital.



The other day when we were doing estimates of the Department of the Environment in committee,
I learned that, in fact, there is a downgrading of the Department of the Environment office in Middleton, in
Annapolis County. In fact, that office, which has been the regional office for the Department of the
Environment for many years, has now been downgraded into a district office and the head office is being
moved to Kentville. I know very well that the community of Middleton, just as would be the case with my own
Town of Liverpool, will feel much more acutely the loss of that regional office than will the benefit which
accrues to Kentville be noticed by that larger town.



I think, too, of the changes with respect to the hospital in Annapolis Royal, which was originally
slated, as I understand it, for closure but which has avoided that, albeit with a significantly reduced role with
respect to the provision of health care in the community.



Today we heard much discussion in the House about Guysborough County and the net loss of jobs
there with respect to that rural community, which has been so hard hit by the downturn in the fishing industry.
We have heard a great talk about community economic development, but it is easy to talk the talk, Mr.
Speaker. What the people of Guysborough want, as the people in all rural communities want to see this
government do, any government to do, is not just talk the talk, but walk the walk and so far, the first step has
not been taken on that long journey.



[1:30 p.m.]



We have also heard today something of promises, promises not yet kept, promises which may well
be broken, with respect to the Town of Amherst and the impact of the closure of the School for the Deaf in
that community. The Minister for the Economic Renewal Agency can preach as much as he likes, from the
pulpit that he stands at, across the way, when he responds to questions in this House. But one thing he cannot
deny, is the impact that the closure of that school has had on real estate prices in that community. The fact
is, that there are so many people who have to move out of that community to seek employment elsewhere, as
a result of the closure of that school, that it has very much reduced the value of properties. All you have to do,
is ask any real estate agent in the area or even more to the point, ask anybody who has a home to sell.



Again, looking at what we learned in the committee on Supply. The other day we learned that Ship
Harbour has been adversely affected by this government. In this case, by this government’s decision to shut
down the shellfish hatchery and demonstration centre which is located there. Moth-balled it. A virtually new
facility which could play an important role in the aquaculture development that the Minister of Fisheries likes
to talk so much about, but he seems not prepared to walk the walk to which I referred, just a moment ago.



Upper Musquodoboit, the closure of the tree nursery and the forestry centre there. We keep hearing
from the Minister of Natural Resources, how important education is with respect to educating Nova Scotians
to the importance of the forest industry. So what does he do? He shuts down the one forestry demonstration
centre that is available in this province and to which young people from across Nova Scotia have gone for the
past several years to learn about the importance of this vital industry to this province.



I spoke of health a moment ago and I cannot help but reflect upon it again, when I think of what has
happened to the hospitals which for so many years have served the communities of Berwick and Wolfville,
both closed, unilaterally, bang, slam, gone. Mr. Speaker, again the erosion of the small towns and small
communities in this province. How could one look at the impact in communities across this province and bad
decisions, without reflecting upon the bad decision taken by this government with respect to the closure of
the Teachers College? Mr. Speaker, isn’t it curious, isn’t it more than curious, that there was no question about
the Teachers College being closed, but the minister’s alma mater was given time to prepare a plan, so it could
possibly keep its teacher training institution open.



Mr. Speaker, we hear time and time again about community economic development in Nova Scotia
and rural economic development, but we do not see one single iota of plan put forward in this House with
respect to accommodating that. This government attempted to use as a springboard, the 30-60-90 economic
initiative. That springboard launched them all right, it launched them right head first into an empty
swimming pool. But, unfortunately, the hopes and aspirations of the people of this province crashed with them
in that. (Interruption)



Mr. Speaker, if they have an economic plan, they must put it forward so Nova Scotians can
understand it. If they have an economic plan, they must put it forward so that it benefits not just the people
of the regional centres in this province, but so that it benefits the men, women and children throughout this
entire province, from Cape Fourchu to Cape North and from Halifax North to the border with New Brunswick.



Mr. Speaker, nobody has been more adversely impacted by the bad decisions taken by this
government than the senior citizens of this province. We see them cut back in their Pharmacare, cut back in
rental subsidies. We even see the Minister of Fisheries taking away from them a privilege which was extended
to them first, by another Liberal Government in another day, under Premier Gerald Regan, the privilege to
be able to go out and fish recreationally in this province without having to pay the license fee.



Mr. Speaker, this is a bad government with respect to the total failure of this government to
understand that Nova Scotia is more than just a few regional centres in this province, that Nova Scotia is all
of this province and that the changes they are undertaking is denuding economic opportunity throughout this
province, particularly in the small towns and the small communities.



They can make all the derisive remarks they wish to those of us who make these accusations and
these complaints on behalf of our constituents. But I assure you, sir, that the people who live in the small
communities of this province will hold this government to account and they will pay the price for their bad
policies. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



MR. JOHN HOLM: As I stand to speak this afternoon I heard a helpful comment from the member
for Cape Breton South speaking across the floor to the former Speaker and saying, no shortage of gall over
there, Mr. Speaker.



Well, I say to that member and to all members of the government benches, quite honestly and without
any hesitation, there sure is no hesitation or no shortage of gall on the government benches because almost
every single commitment, anything that they said during the last provincial election in terms of promises to
rural and small town Nova Scotia, they have torn up and discarded out of hand, Mr. Speaker, completely out
of hand.



What we see this government doing, what this government is clearly doing is deciding they are going
to be centralizing all programs, all services that they possibly can, in a few regional centres and to heck with
the small communities, to heck with rural Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. They are interested only in strong,
certain central locations and have absolutely no concern whatsoever for rural Nova Scotia and the
communities that are going to be adversely affected.



This was a government and our Minister of Finance, even before he was elected, when he was first
seeking office and we had the same kind of rhetoric being echoed by colleagues from Cape Breton and other
parts of rural Nova Scotia that are experiencing tough economic times, saying that they were in support of
decentralization of government and that they were going to ensure that government jobs and the benefits that
come with them, in terms of the wages, that can spin off and spur industry and employment in those rural
communities, was going to be done. We even had 30-60-90 and again the expenditure of public tax dollars
that produced absolutely nothing whatsoever.



Now, Mr. Speaker, we hear the rhetoric from members opposite and we hear the government saying
that they believe in rural Nova Scotia. Well, I want to talk really specifically about one area, that is
Guysborough and Guysborough County. Why is that? Well, the members opposite ask why is that. Well, I will
be quite up-front with that and yes, indeed, I am raising the issues of Guysborough today because more
information and statistics were brought to us today by community-minded persons, like the representatives
of the municipal council who are in the gallery today and I salute them while some members of this House
are ridiculing us for bringing it to the floor today because members of those municipal councils are here
fighting for their communities. I salute those members and I congratulate them. The ones who should be
holding their heads in shame are those who would be chastising us and the duly elected representatives of the
municipal governments for bringing those concerns to our attention in this House, so that we can use the
opportunity to raise them here on the floor of the House.



Now, Mr. Speaker, the main point in the issue that I want to raise today has to do specifically with
the Registry of Deeds which this government is planning to move and close down. Now the municipal
councils are quite prepared to put in writing where they stand and to bring their concerns to the floor of the
House and to the government. For example, on behalf of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough,
“The Council of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough at their Meeting held on Wednesday, April
12, 1995 had an opportunity to review the resolution approved by your Council dated February 13, 1995
regarding the relocation of the Registrar of Deeds, Sherbrooke. The Council concur with the feelings of your
Council . . .”, that is, of course, to the council of St. Mary’s, “. . . in that the removal of the Registry from
Sherbrooke will have an adverse affect on the residents of the Sherbrooke area and have gone on record in
supporting the motion of your Council to retain the services in Sherbrooke.”.



Mr. Speaker, the resolution that was passed by the municipal District of St. Mary’s was very simple
and straightforward. It does simply say in the resolve section of the resolution: “Therefore Be It Resolved that
the government of Nova Scotia continue to operate a Registry in Sherbrooke to assure that residents of our
Municipality have fair access to this basic service.”. I salute the Council of the District of St. Mary’s for
bringing forward and raising the concerns for the citizens who use that and by their calculations the real cost
to the province of maintaining this centre is $9,000 a year. They have offered, they have said they will help
meet those costs and in fact, I believe said they would pay those costs to keep that important service in the
community, not just for the municipality’s benefit as elected officials but for the benefit of those who use it
like those who are involved in the forest industry and who have to check on a regular basis, the metes and
bounds of properties, where they will be cutting timber, where they will be employing people and making
monies for the community at large.



Not only did St. Mary’s go on record and not only did the Municipality of Guysborough support their
request but so too, did the Town of Canso because in a letter sent by the mayor dated March 7, the mayor
wrote that, “I wish to advise Canso Town Council in regular session of February 27, 1995 approved by
unanimous motion our support of your Council’s resolve to maintain a Registry of Deeds office in
Sherbrooke.”.



Also, the Town of Mulgrave, “Please be advised at the Regular Session of Council on February 6,
1995 Mulgrave Town Council passed a resolution of support for District of St. Mary’s to retain the Registry
of Deeds.”.



Those municipal councils are supporting the efforts because they see what has been happening to
employment within Guysborough. They have provided us with information that shows department after
department, area after area, where jobs have been cut or moved from that municipality. Every time one of
those jobs is moved, the multiplier effect goes with it because those government jobs which bring government
salaries are being removed from those communities and as those dollars are removed then they do not
recirculate in the provision of goods and services within that community at large.



Here we have a Minister of Education and a government that is saying that they have to amalgamate
school boards because boards like Guysborough are facing extremely severe financial difficulties. One of the
reasons they are facing that this year is because of the early retirement package that this minister and this
government imposed and which is bankrupting the board. The government is withdrawing more and more
jobs from the community and as it withdraws those jobs then the situation of the boards, the situations of the
municipal councils, the situation of the entire county deteriorates.



In the Department of Education, out of the schools before August of 1994, 24 jobs lost; with the
amalgamation on the school board projected, another 7 more; nursing positions gone, two; the prothonotary
and probate, and out of that area, Mr. Speaker, in total, four jobs gone.



When one takes a look at it, and the list goes on and on, and the Guysborough total, Mr. Speaker,
over 86.5 jobs. That is on the first two sheets. When you take in the multiplier effect, we are talking - because
every good job has a multiplier of at least two - that has a net effect, by withdrawing that money, of well over
150 jobs gone from the communities, in terms of support.



[1:45 p.m.]



Now, the plea to the government is to honour the commitments to rural Nova Scotia. We have seen
federal governments, now provincial governments, doing their darndest to strip away any jobs that are related
to the provincial government in the provision of services to those communities, stripped away and moved to
larger centres. Is that what they mean by community economic development, concentrate everything in a few
centres? Is that the goal? What happened to the commitments of meeting with and sitting down with
representatives of the workers and trying to find ways to decentralize, so that the economic benefits from
government jobs can be dispersed across the province?



You know we talk - and those involved in education and so on talk about, and certainly in health care
- the holistic approach. It is a comparison that I have used before, if you have a healthy body, except for a
couple of limbs that are hurting and hurting badly, your whole structure is in pain, your whole body is not
well; if you have a sore arm, that affects your whole body. Sure as heck, Mr. Speaker, a reasonable person
would not set out to inflict pain on one portion of their body to try to enrich or strengthen another part of that
body.



What this government is doing by stripping away, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs by her plans
to strip away the Registry of Deeds and the few jobs, is making the whole body less well. The citizens are not
asking a great deal, in fact they are offering to pay the shot themselves.



MR. ROBERT CARRUTHERS: I wonder if the member would entertain a question? Mr. Speaker,
I noted in the County of Hants, which is the county that I represent, the Registry of Probate has been moved
and the Sheriff’s Office has been affected, the Supreme Court has been affected and I just wonder why this
member is speaking exclusively to Guysborough County today, is there some reason that he has decided to
speak exclusively to Guysborough County?



MR. HOLM: Well, maybe the member for Hants East would like to read Hansard or maybe the
member for Hants East would like to come in and listen to the whole debate because, had he been here, he
would have understood and heard me explaining the reason why I am talking about Guysborough here this
afternoon. So to make the matter short, Mr. Speaker, the way to answer the member for Hants East, I would
suggest that tomorrow, early in the morning, he get a copy of Hansard, read my remarks and he will find the
answer very clearly articulated in a brief capsule in that.



AN HON. MEMBER: Maybe tomorrow we will talk about Hants East.



MR. HOLM: Yes, maybe tomorrow we will talk about Hants East, maybe the member will talk about
Hants East tomorrow himself, Mr. Speaker.



The point I am getting at is that quite simply the elected representatives and the citizens, over 1,200
who have signed the petition asking that that centre, that service remain, they are not asking for a great deal,
but they are asking this government to have an open mind, to be a partner and to put their money where their
mouth is, figuratively speaking. The residents of those communities and the municipalities are actually
prepared to put the hard bucks themselves on the table, to make up the $9,000 shortfall, to make sure that this
service stays in place.



What is at stake here is simply the government’s ego and the government’s stated so-called policy,
that is that there is to be but one centre for each municipality. Surely if we have a partnership, if municipal
government and the commitment of this government to recognize and to honour and be respectful of the
municipal level of government, surely it is not unreasonable to expect that when a hand is extended, a hand
from those municipal representatives, offering to find jointly, for the benefit of the communities, a solution,
it is not unreasonable to expect that the government should accept that hand and be prepared to work
cooperatively with those citizens and with the representatives of those communities. That is not much to ask.
Surely, given the amount of money that the government can make available to deputy ministers who quit,
$9,000 is a pittance to make sure that this essential and vital program and service to the residents in the
Municipality of Guysborough and in the District of St. Mary’s does continue to exist in that community.
Hopefully the government will back off from their bull-headed position and be open to listening to and
working with those communities. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.



[1:54 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mrs. Francene
Cosman in the Chair.]



[5:54 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Paul MacEwan,
resumed the Chair.]



MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply reports:



THE CLERK: That the committee has met and made some progress in considering Supply and asks
leave to sit again.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills
for Second Reading.



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.



MR. ALLISTER SURETTE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 7.



Bill No. 7 - Financial Measures (1995) Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview adjourned the debate. The debate will
obviously be interrupted by the 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. moment of interruption debate, but altogether the
honourable member has, by my calculation, 43 minutes remaining, so you can take it in segments.



The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately for me it is a bit like debating Bill No.
7 in fits and starts because I had an opportunity to make some opening comments in debate yesterday. I know
I will have about seven minutes before the moment of interruption and then presumably resume after the late
debate.



Let me just say, briefly, Mr. Speaker, we are dealing here with the Act entitled, An Act Respecting
Certain Financial Measures and, in essence, this is the piece of legislation that implements various measures
contained in the recent budget announced by the Minister of Finance, requiring specific legislative initiatives
or legislative changes.



It sounds like an innocuous enough bill, Mr. Speaker, An Act Respecting Certain Financial
Measures. It strikes me, as I comb through the details of that bill and consider their implications, that,
perhaps, a somewhat more accurate term for the bill might be, an Act respecting certain financial interests.
But I am not going to nit-pick over the title of the bill. It is not the kind of bill where the wording of the title
gives particular cause for concern or raises particular alarm signals.



I think, however, Mr. Speaker, if one goes through the bill in detail, what becomes clear is that there
are, in fact, five different parts to the bill, five different sections of the bill. I think it is fair to say that, in the
instance of four of those different sections, Part One dealing with changes to the Health Services Act, Part
Two dealing with changes to the Income Tax Act and the third section, which deals with the Provincial
Finance Act and the fifth section that deals with the Equity Tax Credit Act, that it is fair to say that these
particular budgetary measures are designed for good or for ill by the government in its best judgment to
advance certain kinds of financial interests.



The Minister of Finance, I think, was being quite accurate when he gave a very brief summation of
what the implications of these budgetary measures were by saying that what they really were about was the
government keeping faith with the commitment that was made last year that there would be significant tax
reductions introduced in this budget and he made it quite clear that these are tax reductions, all of which have
to do with benefiting business in this province.



So, Mr. Speaker, we have tax changes that are, in fact, designed to create certain kinds of incentives
for the production processing of non-renewable resources. We have tax changes that are purportedly designed,
and I will have something more to say about this, to encourage conventioneers to seek accommodation in
hotels here in Nova Scotia. We have measures that here purport to be encouraging companies in Nova Scotia
who would wish to raise money on the stock market, who would wish to develop a prospectus and issue shares
to allow them to raise capital and so, obviously, it is the business interests of those companies, generally very
large businesses. It is not customary for small business to go the route of preparing to list on the stock
exchange and raise capital through that manner.



I think it is fair to say that the main beneficiaries of the business measure that is contained in this
section of the bill, in addition to those large businesses that will benefit, of course, will be the accountants,
the lawyers, the public relations firms, the communications experts and so on whose various bills will be
eligible for tax credit consideration. So it is quite clear that those are, by and large, businesses and business-related professions that will be the beneficiaries if, in fact, these so-called incentives designed to stimulate the
economy have the desired effect that the government has in mind.



Then, of course, we have changes . . .



[6:00 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: We have reached the point of interruption and the honourable member still has the
floor, but on another theme. So we will now shift from Bill No. 7.



The debate this evening is on:



Therefore be it resolved that public hearings on the House of Commons Bill C-76 should be held in
Nova Scotia.



ADJOURNMENT



MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.









FINANCE (HC COMM.) - BILL C-76 (PROV. ARRANGEMENTS CHANGES):

 

HEARINGS (N.S.) - HOLD



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: If I could just say in consideration of the members not having to be
subjected to hearing me speak on yet another subject, I very happily defer to my colleague, the member for
Halifax Atlantic, on this subject.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, my apologies for not having brought that change to your
attention earlier.



Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the motion, in fact, a similar motion
to what I introduced earlier today as a notice of motion. Let me read, “Therefore be it resolved that this House
urges the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to hold public hearings on Bill C-76 across
the country to ensure an adequate opportunity for all Canadians to make known their views and knowledge
about this important legislation.”.



Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about when we talk about Bill C-76 is the whole question of federal
funding for health, education and social welfare, the fact that the way those payments are being made, the way
that funding occurs now, is being rolled into what is called the Canada Health and Social Transfer Program.
It is a program which basically says that the original programs of CAP, the Canada Assistance Plan, which
set a few basic principles upon which provinces had to operate in order to access that funding in the delivery
of social welfare to those eligible in their jurisdictions, would be a requirement.



The second program is part of the Established Programs Financing Act and that was what came
under the Canada Health Act, which was provided to the provinces for the implementation of the principles
of the Canada Health Act, a very strong program that had very strong national principles and standards that
operated from one end of this country to the other. In other words, regardless of where you were in the
Country of Canada, you had the opportunity to receive the same level or an equivalent level of health services,
Mr. Speaker.



Now what happens is that the Canada Health and Social Transfer proposed under Bill C-76 changes
the two programs, CAP and part of the EPF that provided for program funding under the Canada Health Act.
So now all of that money is going to be put together and is going to be offered in what is called block funding
to the provinces with basically very few strings attached in terms of how that will be spent. That is a major
problem, Mr. Speaker, in terms of national standards from one end of this province to the other. Canadians
had an opportunity to participate on some decisions with respect to the federal government backing away from
its commitment in terms of national standards on things like health and social welfare or social policy. You
will remember the debate around the Meech Lake Accord and the Charlottetown Accord had some
considerable amount to do with devolving responsibility from the federal government to the provinces.
Overwhelmingly, Canadians rejected that particular option mainly because of the fact that they held the
responsibility of the federal government for these standards as extremely important.



Here in Nova Scotia, I think from the days when we first joined Confederation, we decided that it
was important that we have a federal instrument with extraordinary taxing and spending powers in order to
maintain that sense of national unity, to provide an equalizing effect from one end of this country to the other,
to pay for and to maintain what we know as a Canadian standard of services, Mr. Speaker. Every time that
we have had an opportunity to vote against this, whether it be the Meech Lake Accord or the Charlottetown
Accord, whether it be the Mulroney Government in 1993, the people of Canada have said quite clearly that
they don’t want to see a further dissolution of the level of standards and the level of funding for health care,
for social services spending and for education.



Mr. Speaker, what we are talking about here in terms of amounts for Nova Scotia is an estimate of
$328 million over three years, a reduction that is going to hit us very sharply. It was interesting to note in the
Minister of Finance’s Budget Address to this House that as a result, his one response to this announcement
by the federal government in the Honourable Paul Martin’s budget, his main response was that there would
be an immediate program review over the next year in order to deal with that.



I think what we can expect, quite clearly, is with this kind of a reduction in the level of funding that
Nova Scotians are going to see not only the level of spending but also the level of eligibility reduced, in terms
of the availability of those programs.



Mr. Speaker, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, in commenting on this change in the way this
federal funding was going to be distributed to the provinces, said the following, “The withdrawal of federal
dollars will profoundly affect the quality of human services in Canada. Medicare is particularly vulnerable.
The declining cash transfers - both through the direct withdrawal of funds and the partial indexation of the
funding formula - spell the end of Medicare. Despite the fact that the Finance Minister publicly swore his
allegiance to the Canada Health Act, there is no protection for Medicare without federal dollars; the dollars
provide the enforcement clout.”.



Mr. Speaker, for anyone who pays attention to the independent research institutes in this country and
what they say, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy has a very high and very credible and very important
reputation in the debate over social policy.



Mr. Speaker, the shift that is being made by this federal government from a commitment that it
declared quite clearly during the election of 1993, is of such a significant nature that the matter must be put
before the people of Canada. We must hold public hearings here in Nova Scotia, as well as across the rest of
the country, in order that the ramifications, the implications of these changes, are put before Nova Scotians
and Canadians so that they will have an opportunity to gauge and to assess the magnitude and to perhaps let
the federal government know exactly what it thinks about whether they believe in this change happening, in
terms of the direction of federal funding for health, social services and education in this province.



I believe, Mr. Speaker, as do many in this country that again as I said earlier, when Canadians have
been given the opportunity to make decisions on what they think is important in Canada, they believe that the
standards we have been able to maintain are extremely important to our identity as Canadians and that any
threat to those standards, any threat to those levels of services, any threat to the Medicare system in this
country must be fought back strenuously. People are willing to pay, through their taxes, to ensure that we
maintain that level of equity, that level of universality from one end of the country to the other.



I believe that this whole question of block funding is counter to the fundamental interests, values and
aspirations of the greatest majority of Canadians and that what we owe Canadians, this federal government,
this government, this Legislature, is an opportunity to participate in the process of making this decision
because I believe it is not fair, Mr. Speaker, for the Government of Canada, through Bill C-76, to simply, in
a very significant manner, change the way in which federal funding for these programs will occur because
it is much more than just cutting back the level of funding, it is forever and a day changing the kinds of
commitments that we have to the provision of national programs.



People have a right and deserve the right and the respect that will be provided by giving them an
opportunity to participate publicly in committee hearings from one end of this province to the other, from one
end of this country to the other on a matter that is so fundamental to the Canadian interest. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: I hadn’t intended to speak on the matter that my colleague, the
member for Halifax Atlantic has launched in the late debate because I really felt certain that it would be
viewed as a very serious issue to attract the attention of not just all members on all side of the House, but I
think that it is fair to say as people begin to really understand what the implications are of the federal budget
that was brought down by the Honourable Paul Martin at the end of February, I think it was, that really people
from one end of this country to other are starting to understand that we are talking about some very
fundamental changes that are going to affect the lives not just of specific target groups, not just of specific
income groups, but really that are going to change in very major ways some of the most basic programs and
services that impact on the lives of all people in this country.



I know that sometimes we are seen to perhaps be, because we are concerned that the implications of
these changes be fully understood, that they be fully aired and debated that they be fully analyzed and so on,
we sometimes are characterized as somehow being apologists for the status quo that we are not prepared to
recognize that in order for our national programs whether we are taking about Medicare, Canada Assistance
Plan, assistance to post-secondary education that we somehow are resistant to the idea that it is important to
be always changing to meet changing needs.



Let’s be very clear that I think even the most optimistic view, the most rose-coloured glasses through
which anyone might want to analyze the proposed changes that are contained in the federal Bill C-76, that
one cannot possibly characterize these changes as having a positive impact on our health care system, on our
post-secondary education system or on the vast array of community services that will be impacted. We are not
just talking about direct public assistance programs at the provincial and municipal levels, although those will
be very profoundly impacted. We are also talking about a lot of community-based services that are now offered
through a variety of voluntary agencies, non-profit organizations and quasi-governmental agencies to address
needs; everything from the participants from the disabled community and sheltered workshops to child care
services, Heavens knows we are already in desperate straits because of the inadequacy and the inaccessibility
of our child care services.



I think it is absolutely predictable and we are beginning to see, in terms of the announced cut-backs
to a lot of different programs and services affecting women whether it’s services addressing the need for
shelter and protection or services to women and children being abused, family planning services, you name
it, we are talking about an impact that is going have very wide implications. All you have to know is that the
dollar amount attached to the changes that will result from the implementation of these measures in the first
three years, in Nova Scotia alone, will be $385 million.



[6:15 p.m.]



I guess it is fair to acknowledge that as we continue to debate the provincial government’s budgetary
measures, and that debate will continue as we look at the piece of legislation that implements the provincial
budgetary measures, that it is not reasonable for this government, for the current Nova Scotia Liberal
Government to have fully adjusted for the impact that is going to strike us, this time next year, as a result of
federal Bill C-76 beginning to have its impact. It certainly is not anything that any responsible minister, if
prepared to acknowledge the truth of the matter, could pretend is not going to dramatically affect the level
of services that are going to be available to Nova Scotians in the areas of health, education and community
services.



This government has congratulated itself again and again for its four year plan of fiscal management
and cost reductions, but it is certainly evident that in years three and four of this supposed four year financial
planning exercise, that the government is going to have to drastically alter its plans, at least as they were laid
out in year one and year two, to begin to take account of as massive a cut to the funds coming into this
province as has already now been signalled by the introduction of Bill C-76 and the budgetary measures that
flow from that.



Mr. Speaker, I think the resolution introduced for debate here tonight in late debate, and introduced
earlier this afternoon at the beginning of this afternoon’s sitting by the member for Halifax Atlantic, is an
extremely important one for all members to be seriously considering. I do not want to make the mistake and
it is not in order, it is not fair to say that because no other member is prepared today to speak to that resolution
in late debate that it means therefore people are not very concerned about what the implications are going to
be for our health care system, for training, for higher education, literally, for the standard of living of a great
number of Nova Scotians as a result of the implementation of Bill C-76.



What I think is absolutely clear is that Nova Scotians - and I do not think they are any different from
anyone else in the country in this regard - just simply do not have an understanding as yet of how profoundly
this is going to change the establishment of any kind of national standards, as the member for Halifax Atlantic
has pointed out. It is not just because there is going to be such a severe erosion of dollars that it is going to
be hard to maintain any kind of standards, it is because the federal government is virtually vacating the field
in terms of having any kind of meaningful clout that will allow them to try to enforce even the most minimal
kinds of uniform standards.



It is not an exaggeration to say that it has been over a 40 year period that we have seen the long
struggle take place across this country, sometimes the initiative coming from provincial government,
sometimes from a federal government under pressure from different constituencies of concern across this
country but, literally, over a period of decades we have struggled to build up some kind of national standards
that establish the notion that one does not have to expect to be penalized in something as basic as our health
care services because of where one happens to live, because of what happens to be the state of finances of a
particular provincial government, but rather that as a nation we want to provide a minimal standard for these
matters.



I would just urge all members to support the essence of the resolution introduced by my colleague
which is that together in unison that we call upon the House of Commons to recognize the importance of
having the Standing Committee on Finance hold hearings across the country on Bill C-76 so that we do have
an opportunity to make input, we do have an opportunity for all Canadians to understand what the
implications are before the government goes ahead with these very drastic changes that are going to
profoundly affect our lives and erode the standard of income and level of services for people across this
country.



MR. SPEAKER: Are there any further intervenors in the debate? If not, the House stands recessed
until 6:30 p.m., at which time we will resume Public Bills for Second Reading.



[The House recessed at 6:21 p.m.]



[The House reconvened at 6:30 p.m.]



MR. SPEAKER: We will now resume the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.



PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING



Bill No. 7 - Financial Measures (1995) Act. [Debate resumed.]



MR. SPEAKER: The debate was adjourned by the honourable member for Halifax Fairview. Don’t
ask me how much time you have left but I will send you down a message when I figure it out - 35 minutes that
sounds fair.



MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Oh that’s fine, I don’t intend to use the full time anyway but thank
you, Mr. Speaker. You can’t say I didn’t try to give members a rest from my voice and give my voice a rest
as well during the late debate.



I am pleased to have an opportunity to resume my comments on the . . .



MR. SPEAKER: I am going to say that you have 37 minutes remaining, by my calculation.



MS. MCDONOUGH: Thank you. On the bill which is before us, which is An Act Respecting Certain
Financial Measures. Well, before the moment of interruption, Mr. Speaker, I was just outlining the fact that
four different clauses of this bill, four different parts of the bill, Clauses 1, 2, 3 and 5 have to do with the
government’s policy decision to introduce certain tax reductions for certain segments of the community.



I outlined the various elements of the business community that would, in fact, be the beneficiaries
of this series of tax breaks. At the moment of interruption I had just begun to make reference to the fifth, and
I think final, segment of the community that, in fact, will be and I think it is a welcome measure, can be the
beneficiary of the particular tax measures. I refer in this final instance to two very important elements of the
cultural community; in one instance the government’s decision to introduce a further incentive to the film
industry. I think there would be few people who would dispute the fact that one of the exciting new growth
industries in the province in recent years has been the film development industry. I think this government is
to be congratulated for furthering the support to that industry. It has a lot of advantages; it tends to be labour
intensive, it takes advantage of many of our most important natural resources, in terms of our scenery, our
beauty. Also I think it is very attractive to interests from away because we have a wealth of talent here in the
cultural community and not just in the direct performing arts but in the other aspects of the artistic community
which are involved in visual presentations, in really all aspects of the cultural industries that are relevant to
film development.



They also have the obvious advantage that they are not resource-depleting and they are not polluting,
I suppose, as long as we are sure that film development sites are well-maintained, and I don’t have any reason
to think otherwise. So I think they are an industry that is one that is compatible with Nova Scotia’s interests.
I think it is always important to remain vigilant, to ensure that Nova Scotians are having the opportunity to
maximize the employment potential in that industry. For that reason I think the government is to be
congratulated for the further incentive that has been introduced in this particular bill, that attempt to address
that very factor.



I am not absolutely sure that I fully understand exactly what the implications are of the measures and
perhaps the minister will elaborate. I guess perhaps one would need to know more about the film development
industry to fully appreciate how the particular measure that is outlined, what its impact will actually be. It
does seem evident that it is a welcome provision, that where certain criteria are met by a film development
corporation that there will be tax deductions that will take into account eligible salaries. It seems evident that
that is to try to further reinforce the benefit of employing people here in the province.



It is not really clear to me to try to fully understand what the alternative measure is -15 per cent of
the total production costs of the eligible film - and whether that means, for example, that the major costs that
would be taken into account there may in fact exclude to a very large extent the payment of salaries to Nova
Scotians. I fully admit that I don’t understand a lot about the film development industry so I don’t raise that
as a criticism. I am simply asking the minister if he might elaborate a little bit on what the intended effect may
be and what the likely impact may be of the further measure that has been introduced.



In any case, I think there is no question that the government’s continuing support, and I think it is
fair to say increased support, reflected in this budgetary measure, is one that can have a positive effect and
I congratulate the government for it.



The final measure outlined in the Budget Address but not apparently requiring an actual legislative
change but rather a regulatory change that I think is also deserving of applause to the government, is the
provision to provide for an exemption to non-profit performers and presenters in the performing arts. I think,
again, it is in keeping with the recognition that our human potential is our most important asset or most
important resource, that we have absolutely immense potential, much of it that has already been recognized,
not just Canada-wide but increasingly around the world in terms of our performing artists.



It is also a fact that many of our performing artists, as individuals and as organizations, such as the
Nova Scotia Symphony and some of our theatre companies, for example, are nevertheless under very grave
stress financially all of the time despite generous support from individuals and business interests in the
community, despite the fact that the cost of many performances is significant these days. The reality is that
in order for our artists to be properly paid, to have any kind of financial stability, it is an expensive
undertaking and there is nowhere that I am aware of in the world, really, that there isn’t some form of public
support for the performing arts if the community is to have the opportunity to have the full range of
performing arts available to them and if our artists are to be properly and well paid.












So, I think, it is in recognition that the return from that investment is very substantial, very
significant, both in economic terms and more importantly, I think, cultural and educational terms. So again,
I applaud the government for recognizing that.



The final area which actually is Part IV of the budgetary measures is the one that I want to devote
most of my remaining attention to, Madam Speaker, because unfortunately the fourth section of this budgetary
legislation, the only part of this bill that is before us that one cannot even pretend is going to benefit the
segment of the population who is affected by the legislative measure that is here being introduced.



That Part IV of this legislation is in reference to the Senior Citizens’ Financial Aid Act. Others have
spoken and I have attempted to briefly summarize who the various business interests, by and large, that are
going to benefit from the tax measures that are contained in this legislation and one way or another there
clearly are going to be beneficiaries. It is a matter of debate and sometimes of dispute as to whether or not
there is going to be the real public benefit that the Minister of Finance would have us believe. For example,
when the decision is made to forfeit tax revenue from conventioneers on their hotel accommodations, the
government would argue, well, those beneficiaries are going to be those on whom those dollars that are saved
by the conventioneers from the taxes they would otherwise be required to pay, but when they spend those in
some other ways that there are going to be other beneficiaries, either in terms of businesses that will receive
those dollars, jobs generated and so on.



Well, I don’t want to say there will be none, but I think there are few people that believe that that is
the real impetus behind that particular measure. I think the real impetus as I have already indicated previously
is to try to make darn sure that the ITT Sheraton and the casino operations in this province are going to have
the kind of enticements and inducements that this government is going to make sure are dangled out there
to bring people in to gamble in this province, so that the government has not hitched its fate to a gambling
industry that is not going to have every kind of break, every kind of perk and prop that is necessary for the
government to be able to claim that this is a great success and to point to the dollars that are pouring in from
the casino gambling activity directly. When you decide to put so many eggs in that basket, I suppose you also
can be expected to do a lot of twisting and turning to try to come up with other ways of trying to ensure the
success of that undertaking.



But I think, Madam Speaker, when you consider that practically the only rationale that even the very
small minority of Nova Scotians were prepared to consider favourably for why this government might get into
casino gambling in a big way was that it, in fact, would generate certain revenues that may help in a very
difficult fiscal situation.



I don’t think, Madam Speaker, what people imagined is that the government would then decide to
forfeit further tax revenues from conventioneers, that I think one can make the case are effectively being taken
right out of the pockets of some of the senior citizens in this province who require assistance, who deserve
assistance, who have previously been receiving very small subsidies. Let’s face it, the two programs that are
being terminated by this government for all citizens reaching the age of 65 from this point on, the financial
programs that have been in place for many years, providing for a very small property tax rebate to senior
citizens below a certain modest income level, and providing very modest rental assistance to seniors whose
total income has been below the level of $17,600 annually.



I don’t think any Nova Scotian can really stomach the decision that this government has made.
Somehow it seems particularly perverse that it is wrapped here in a whole set of tax credits, tax deductions,
tax benefits, for a variety of business interests and, certainly, in some cases, for the financial interests of
individuals who, by definition, have to be understood to have very large sums of disposable income and huge
amounts of discretionary income after all of their basic needs are met for them to ever even benefit from the
tax measures that the government has introduced here.



To introduce a tax measure that says, now you can get an increased tax credit, one going from 25 per
cent to 30 per cent, on an increased investment from $10,000 to $30,000 annually, clearly spells out that we
are talking about people who, by any definition, are considered very comfortably off. This government has
chosen, right alongside and as part of this same piece of legislation that is before us, to take right out of the
pockets of seniors, very small subsidies, sometimes as low as $15 a month and in no case, I believe, higher
than $130 a month. So we are talking about a subsidy less than $1,500 a year to seniors whose total income
is no more than $17,600 and many of whose incomes are considerably less than that.



[6:45 p.m.]



How can a government even hold its head up? How can a government not feel any sense of shame
at juxtaposing those two kinds of budgetary measures, saying look, if you happen to have $30,000 left over
after you have met all of your needs and all of your requirements and you want to invest that $30,000 for your
own future reward - because that is why people invest money in businesses - then you can do so and you can
get, not just the 25 per cent tax credit that used to exist but a 30 per cent tax credit? Yet, in the very same
breath and with the same stroke of a pen basically, this government says, but if you are a senior who may have
almost no dollars left over at the end of the month, at the end of the week, at the end of the year, we are going
to take away from you the tiny subsidy that you would have become eligible for if you hadn’t had the
misfortune of having this Liberal Government inflict it upon you in 1993. How can a government explain that
kind of mean spirited measure?



Madam Speaker, there seems to be a popular and, I think, perverse and sadly misguided notion these
days that, you know if you can keep most of the folks onside, for example, if you can assure the 20,449 seniors
in this province who today are receiving, who are eligible for the property tax rebate that they are going to
go on being eligible for the property tax rebate then it doesn’t matter if you say to other seniors that turn 65,
well, sorry but we can’t afford to make that benefit available to you any more. I think it is a cynical political
strategy and it basically says well, if you can just convince people that we just can’t afford to do it any more,
most of the folks won’t be mad at you, most of the folks will say well it is just too bad about those few hundred
or few thousand seniors who are now not going to benefit from these programs.



I think the government is dead wrong in its cynicism about that and in its belief that most seniors
and most other people don’t care about those couple of thousand people who will no longer benefit from these
programs. I know I have talked to a lot of seniors over the last while who are very concerned about this, and
I will tell you why they are very concerned.



They are very concerned for two reasons: one, they are concerned about their fellow citizens, they
are concerned about whether other seniors get the same treatment, the same fair consideration as they get; but
secondly, seniors are wary, and properly so, because they have been around for a while and they are
experienced enough and canny enough to understand that the best way to begin to put an end to a government
program is to begin to treat the same group of people unfairly, inequitably, because what you then do is you
begin to build a case for dismantling the rest of the program. Don’t think most senior citizens do not know
and understand that is exactly what this is about.



Madam Speaker, once you have a situation where you can say, well, you know, a lot of seniors are
benefitting, for example, from the Rental Assistance Program. Some 1,800 of them are benefitting. But you
know what? Each year there are more and more who reach 65 who are not eligible for that program any more
and gee, we are treating seniors inequitably. We are treating them in different ways, which does not seem like
a very fair thing to do. Well, guess what happens next? The government comes along and says, we can’t really
go on treating seniors inequitably. We can’t really go on giving one set of benefits to one group of seniors over
65 and not give it to the other group over 65. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to afford to extend
those benefits to that second group, to that new group who have turned 65, because finances just won’t allow
it, so I guess we better think seriously about eliminating the rest of the program, because gee, you cannot treat
people unfairly and unequally.



That is exactly how every government that wants to begin dismantling a program goes about it. It
may not do it in one fell swoop because it doesn’t want to take the political flak that goes with it. Let me say
that if anybody thinks that senior citizens are not in a mood to fight for their fair share these days then they
are seriously out of touch. A lot of senior citizens have reached the point where they have had enough in terms
of being made to feel that somehow they are being mollycoddled or they somehow are receiving benefits at
the expense of the rest of the population that they just have to be prepared to start giving up.



It may be the belief of some members that a few hundred dollars or up to a maximum subsidy of less
than $1,500 a year under the Rental Assistance Program wouldn’t mean very much to a lot of seniors. Let me
remind members that a lot of seniors these days are trying to help out their sons and daughters in the next
generation that are being faced with dwindling incomes as a result of roll-backs and wage restraint as a result
of a lot full-time jobs being fractured, of cutbacks in working hours and just generally erosion of family
income.



There are a lot of seniors these days that are forced to be helping, to share their incomes with their
sons and daughters and grandchildren where there are high levels of continuing unemployment. There are
a lot of seniors these days that are trying to help out grandchildren who are either suffering from high levels
of youth unemployment or they are trying to assist with the increasing costs of post-secondary education to
help give their grandchildren an opportunity to be able to get out there and fight for a decent job at the end
of their education. A lot of seniors who may look as though their income at the GIS level should be enough
to get by on are stretching and stretching those incomes to help out their family members who are under
increasing financial pressure. They have reached the point of saying that we are tired of being told that we
are not doing enough and that we have to be prepared to pay more for Pharmacare, we have to pay more for
our health services because hospitals are not going to be there for us, we are going to have to pay for our own
home care, our own in-home support, our own home nursing. That is what is happening to more and more
seniors and they have really had enough.



So if this government thinks, Madam Speaker, that this budgetary measure buried in the bill that is
before us under the category of Senior Citizens Financial Aid Act is not going to arouse a lot of concern and
opposition from a lot of seniors, then this government, I say, is sadly out of touch and are dead wrong.



Madam Speaker, I just want to finish by making further reference to a senior citizens’ forum
yesterday where these matters were among the issues that seniors were talking about over coffee breaks, over
lunch, in public dialogue and so on. One person who has been very active in the seniors’ community, actually
out in Sackville in my colleague for Sackville-Cobequid’s riding, stood up and said, why is it that this
government is so determined to make life even harder than it already is for senior citizens these days?



I think that reflects the sentiment that is widely shared among seniors themselves, the majority of
whom do not come anywhere close to having the kind of extra income, the kind of discretionary dollars that
would allow them to be beneficiaries of these other tax measures. They do not have an extra $10,000, $20,000,
$30,000 at the end of the year so they can invest that and get a return through an increased tax credit that this
government has chosen to introduce. They are having a very hard time making ends meet.



I think that it is past time that this government needs to heed the voices of those senior citizens who
are trying to remind them that when a government decides to try to solve its financial woes, tries to decide
to balance its books on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens, while it boasts and it brags and it
congratulates itself about keeping faith with the business community and introducing the whole range of tax
reductions for business that were promised, then it really is losing sight of what it is to govern fairly in a
democratic society.



As I indicated yesterday, I was very much struck by the position advanced that what makes for the
healthiest society, what makes for the healthiest communities, what makes for the healthiest citizens is
government measures that help to reduce the gaps between the rich and the poor, that helps to build the sense
of community support and social solidarity among all segments of this community.



I think that this legislation, Bill No. 7, does not do that. I freely admit and I certainly congratulated
the government for some particular provisions in that bill that I think can be supported. But by in large, I
think the principle behind this bill is flawed because it is based on the notion that rewarding and enhancing
the wealth of the business community and those among us who have the most wealth in their possession, at
the expense in this instance in a very clear documentable way of some of our most vulnerable citizens,
particularly senior citizens, is not a principle that is supportable.



That is what the legislation has the effect of doing and for that reason, Madam Speaker, as already
indicated, I, too, along with my caucus colleagues will be voting against Bill No. 7.



MADAM SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Madam Speaker, there is something special about being the 11th speaker on a
short bill. One cannot help but sense the sense of expectation on the floor in the hopes that perhaps a new
point can be made. (Interruption) As well, it is certainly intimidating to have a packed gallery when you get
up to speak.



[7:00 p.m.]



However, Madam Speaker, I assure you I won’t be long although there are some things that I do wish
to address in this bill. I must say on starting there are a number of things in this bill with which I find
considerable favour but I would like an opportunity to discuss some individual points. The problem I have
with the bill, however, is that there is a particular item with which I certainly cannot agree.



The minister had mentioned, and I will get this out of the way first, earlier in his Budget Address
a matter that I brought to him privately and it had to do with the provision in the Budget Address for certain
performing arts performances for non-profit that they could apply for a certificate exempting the performance
from the 10 per cent amusement tax. Perhaps the minister, when he is giving his wrap-up on the bill, could
indicate if that would apply to performances such as Neptune, for example, the minister nods in agreement,
and many performances perhaps at the de Coste Centre in Pictou and so on. So the minister is nodding in
agreement. He had earlier told me that while it is not in the bill, it will be available through regulation and
I certainly applaud that. I think it is very difficult for many of the performing arts to survive in this province.
I think this will be a help for them and I applaud the minister for this initiative.



He had also made mention in that same private conversation a reference to a regulation on the tax
credit for seniors. He might make mention of that, even though it is not in the bill. I would certainly
appreciate a little further understanding on that issue.



Getting on to the bill itself, Madam Speaker, and bearing in mind that it is a type of omnibus bill in
that it is a number of unconnected or disconnected sections, in terms of addressing a number of problems.
Clause 2 and Clause 3 address the relief from the provisions of the health services tax on tangible property
consumed or used in the production or processing of non-renewable resources. I think I understand what that
means and again, the minister could provide a little explanation. I believe that does not apply to the harvesting
of the non-renewable resource but has to do with the production or processing of non-renewable resources.



I believe that would be an indication that the minister would be encouraging adding value to those
non-renewable resources.



MADAM SPEAKER: Honourable member, I would just caution you, you seem to be getting into the
clause by clause discussion.



DR. HAMM: Yes, I am looking for an explanation of what the principle is, in terms of the various
clauses but I thank the Speaker for her assistance.



There has been considerable discussion about the exemption of the health services tax for transient
accommodation by a person attending a convention. I agree with the principle of that. I am not sure how
effective it is going to be. There has been a lot of discussion by every speaker on this particular point.



The kind of information I would think would be helpful would be the dollar value of the amount that
the province will be giving up by giving this exemption and some idea of perhaps an estimate of the new
business it will attract. I know that is a long order but at least the minister should have a dollar figure as to
how much revenue the province will be giving up in providing this particular benefit to those who will be
attending conventions in the province.



One of the things, and I look quickly through the bill, it doesn’t make clear if, in fact, that will apply
to conventions being attended by those from within the province. The minister says that that is covered in the
legislation so that concern is addressed. I would presume that those attending conventions from within the
province will not be exempt? They will be covered, so it is a total exemption. So, therefore, the minister is
encouraging those from the province to attend a convention within the province, rather than to go outside.
That is a good initiative and one that I certainly could support. It is obvious that, at some point, by regulation,
there will have to be a very careful determination as to what constitutes a convention in terms of this
particular section of the bill.



By way of this piece of legislation, as well, the minister has extended the March 31, 1996 deadline
continuing the health services tax rebate to first time home buyers. I think that is, again, an excellent initiative
on behalf of the minister and it is certainly one that I can support. Perhaps when the minister is giving his
wrap-up, he might give us some indication of how successful the first year of this initiative has been. It is my
understanding that it has, perhaps, provided initiative for many first time home buyers and builders to take
the plunge in the last 12 months and perhaps they would not otherwise have done so. So I think that is a good
initiative.



Now, I had attended a news conference at an earlier date when the Minister of Finance was
accompanied by Mr. Ed Harris, who apparently was examining some options that the minister could use for
introducing his revenue growth dividend back into the provincial economy. I thought it was an interesting
press conference and it relates, really, to this equity tax credit, Madam Speaker, which is mentioned in this
particular piece of legislation.



My recollection of the information that was provided at that time is that the revenue growth dividend
would partially be used to provide the improvement in the equity tax credit which we see in this piece of
legislation, and that is that maximum eligibility would go from $10,000 to $30,000 and there would be an
increase in the percentage of the tax credit for the investment.



MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member yield the floor for an introduction, please?



DR. HAMM: Yes, Madam Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for the Eastern Shore.



MR. KEITH COLWELL: Madam Speaker, with great pleasure to you and through you this evening,
I introduce to the House of Assembly a very distinguished group of young ladies from my constituency. There
are two groups here this evening. They are the First Lawrencetown Guides that are accompanied by Sheila
Horn and Barbara Victor. If they would like to stand up and receive a warm welcome from our House.
(Applause)



Our second group are the First Lawrencetown Pathfinders, accompanied by Karen Brake and Shirley
Tolhurst. I would ask them to rise. (Applause)



DR. HAMM: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the Eastern Shore for providing
that packed gallery to which I made reference earlier. To carry on with the equity tax credit, I think the
changes are useful and I would certainly be interested, as would all members of the House, in terms of the
success of the first year of that program. But I think enriching the program is useful and I think that is the
kind of initiative that government should be taking in terms of trying to stimulate the economy. I think it is
a healthy way to go and incentives of this kind are certainly something that I think this caucus is prepared to
support.



In addition, the new small business tax reduction being made available to out-of-province
corporations, if at least 25 per cent of the wages are being paid to residents of the province, again, I think that
is a useful change and one that is easy to support.



The provision to allow those that get an equity tax credit to be able to either apply it two years
previous or years hence as well, I think is very useful now that the equity tax credit, due to the new provisions
of the plan will, in fact, be providing larger tax credits and the ability to spread them over several years is
certainly worthwhile and I think enhances the program. Clause 8 as well, which is a tax credit with respect
to expenses incurred by a corporation in filing a prospectus and allowing a tax credit up to 35 per cent of the
eligible expenditures to a maximum of $100,000 of eligible expense, again, I think is helpful bearing in mind
that governments today are getting away from non-repayable loans and grants and I think making it easier
for companies to raise money from the private sector is a useful government initiative and will be helpful I
am sure to Nova Scotia businesses trying to initiate new fund raising endeavours in the private sector, so, I
certainly, can endorse that particular clause.



In the bill, Part III, the Provincial Finance Act, it provides the minister with some discretionary
powers and it says the minister, in fact, if anyone owes through tax up to $10,000 or there is a penalty assessed
under the Finance Act that if the minister deems that it is in the interest of the province or it is not in the
public interest perhaps to collect that, that the minister has the power to negate that particular penalty or to
negate the payment of that particular tax. I am not quite sure what the difference would be, for example, if
somebody was to be assessed a penalty or owe a tax of say $9,000 and somebody else was in the same situation
and it was $11,000 that there is any substantial difference.



My problem, I think, is it provides some instances whereby great discretionary power is placed with
the minister. I find great difficulty in providing the for instances which would satisfy me as that being
particularly reasonable and perhaps when the minister is concluding he could give us some idea as to what
motivated that particular clause. It just doesn’t jump out at you, at first blush, in terms of fairness. There well
may be something there that escapes me and I would appreciate if the minister would give us some further
explanation.



Thus far, I think, with perhaps a reservation in terms of that discretionary clause on behalf of the
minister or granted to the minister I have been speaking in favour of what this bill is all about. However, I
want to spend a few minutes on the Clause 11, which is the clause with which I take great exception. This is
the clause that will eliminate any further participants in the rental subsidy program or the property tax rebate
that up until this point has been available to seniors. The fact of the matter is, Madam Speaker, and the latest
figures I have for these two programs are 1992-93, when 20,449 residents of Nova Scotia were able to
participate in the property tax rebate, that means that 20,449 seniors who were not receiving the supplement
were able to get a partial rebate on their property tax.



[7:15 p.m.]



In many cases, Madam Speaker, this small rebate would provide them with the wherewithal that
would allow them to remain in their own home, bearing in mind that many seniors have been living in their
own home and during their productive years were able, quite nicely, to provide the upkeep and the property
taxes and so on. I think it is always a very sad event when a retired senior who goes on a fixed income is
unable to remain, as long as their health allows, in their own home. This property tax rebate was, in many
cases, and I certainly can think of some individual cases whereby this property tax rebate was very
instrumental in allowing those seniors to remain in their own homes, and I certainly speak very strongly
against the discontinuance of that particular program.



Falling by the wayside as well is the rental subsidy program which . . .



AN HON. MEMBER: Not that.



DR. HAMM: It is gone. Again this was available to seniors who, by way of their income, were
deemed to require some assistance to pay their rent; I believe it would be to supplement them up to the
equivalent of 30 per cent of their income. In 1992-93, which is the last year for which I have figures and
statistics on the program, 1,800 seniors participated in that program. They had received a rental subsidy which
was based on their income and in terms of the percentage of their income they were being forced to pay for
their accommodation.



Now these two programs, I think, are a support to what I feel is a fundamental concept of life here
in Nova Scotia. We should all be given the opportunity to live, if at all possible, in the dwelling of our choice.
In many instances, if, in fact, the discontinuance of this program results in seniors going into perhaps homes
for personal care or nursing homes, then this, in fact, will be a false economy. The fact of the matter is that
the discontinuance of this program may result in increased costs for the maintenance of these particular
seniors. So I would, in very strong terms, encourage the minister to look at the presentations which will, I am
sure, be coming to Law Amendments Committee on behalf of seniors, which will encourage this minister to
eliminate this particular section from the bill.



I am not sure how much money the Minister of Finance would expect to save for the province by
discontinuing this, but I would suggest it won’t be a tremendous amount and there will be hidden costs in that
many seniors will be forced to leave their own homes and may well end up in very expensive situations which
are paid for by the province. So I am really caught in a dilemma, Madam Speaker. There is much in this bill
that I support, and I have indicated to the House those clauses that I do support. I have indicated that I have
some reservation on the alteration and the amendment to the Provincial Finance Act, giving great
discretionary powers to the minister, but I will hope that the minister will provide an explanation that well
may be satisfactory to all members of the House.



I join all speakers who, to this point, have spoken on this bill and have voiced strong objection to the
discontinuance of the property tax rebate and the rental subsidy available to seniors who are receiving the
supplement of the Old Age Pension. For this reason, I feel so strongly that I cannot vote for this bill despite
all of the good things that I feel it contains. I would not want it to be misconceived that a vote for this bill
would indicate to seniors that I and other members of this caucus would be in favour of eliminating this
particular support program available to seniors who are receiving the supplement. In concluding, Madam
Speaker, I will be voting against the bill for the reasons that I have outlined. Thank you.



MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Finance, it will be to close the debate.



The honourable Minister of Finance. (Applause)



HON. BERNARD BOUDREAU: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. First, may I thank all honourable
members of the House that participated in this debate of the bill at second reading. I appreciated all of their
comments and, as I attempted to make notes of all of them, I may have missed one or two points. I would
certainly offer to meet with any member and discuss an issue further if I don’t address it in my comments in
the next few moments.



We had a number of concerns raised by the honourable members, particularly those in the Opposition
who focused on some of the more, perhaps, controversial elements of this bill and I want to deal with those
somewhat specifically as they were raised.



The member for Kings West discussed, in particular, the provisions with respect to seniors. I think
one of the questions he asked was, why don’t we treat seniors with the same income the same, I wrote that
quote down. I don’t think that is really the question he wanted to ask because I don’t think he would suggest
that, for example, we would remove the subsidy from those now receiving it and satisfy him on that point. I
think the question he really asked was, why were we adopting the measure. I want to beg indulgence from the
honourable members and say that I am going to set that question of the seniors aside for a moment, I will
come back to it before I conclude my remarks.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic was the next speaker and he, again, expressed some
concern on the seniors issue and I have indicated that I would deal with that in a few moments. He also
addressed the question of the provision in the bill which dealt with convention exemptions. That was
discussed and I think, for the most part, the comments from the Official Opposition Party were reasonably
fair. I don’t agree with them all, but I think they were raising issues which they wanted answers on and I think
they did so seriously and I will attempt to provide those answers.



I am not so sure the same can be said for the honourable members in the Third Party, particularly,
in the case of the Halifax Atlantic member who quotes, and I am quoting one comment he made on the
exemption, but it is just for Halifax. I wrote it down as he said it, that exemption. That is not true. That
convention exemption exists all across the province and, hopefully, it will be of benefit for facilities all across
the province. The reason it had to be just for Halifax, in his comments, was because he wanted to try and link
it with the casino business and the dark hinting, the dark suggestion that beneath all of this was really an
attempt to support the casino industry. That, by the way, was a theme also taken up by the former Leader of
the Third Party, as well. (Interruption)



The present Leader of the Third Party wants to be in on it too. He claims that he darkly hinted at that,
as well. (Laughter) Mr. Speaker, may I say to you that first of all, this provision applies all across the province
and I hope it will help facilities in all parts of this great province.



The second point I would like to make, this recommendation came to us from TIANS. This was a
meeting that they requested with the Department of Finance in the normal course of our consultative process
and they brought forward this suggestion. They thought, Mr. Speaker, long before the issue of casinos hit the
floor of this House, this measure would stimulate economic activity in the province.



One of the results of that stimulation, by the way, would be more jobs in their industry. That is why
they were suggesting it. We looked at it and we thought it was a reasonable suggestion so we followed it. Mr.
Speaker, if it does not work, let us look at the statistics this time next year on the tourism to this province and
if there has been no increase, then perhaps it did not work. This is a suggestion that came forth from the
industry. We took it seriously and we implemented it.



The member for Kings North, in his comments, indicated that these were, in expressing I think some
reservations to some of the tax reductions - because these are all tax reduction measures with the exception
of the seniors provision, in reviewing some of the tax reduction measures, he was not sure that we picked the
right ones, but I think he was questioning honestly our choices. He said, for example, why didn’t you just have
one across- the-board reduction, for example, dropping the sales tax? Well, the simple answer to that is, we
cannot afford it. We do not have that much money at the moment. Hopefully the day will come soon, hopefully
it will come in conjunction with harmonization when we can consider exactly that. Right now we have in our
tax reduction package an amount which requires us to focus very clearly the tax reductions to get the biggest
bang for the buck quite frankly.



MR. GEORGE ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister of Finance a question please?
Could you give us the dollar figure of the saving to the people coming to Nova Scotia on conventions? How
much money are Nova Scotia taxpayers going to lose because of this tax that you are forgiving for out-of-town
visitors?



MR. BOUDREAU: That will depend on how many people come. The whole point of this measure,
Mr. Speaker, is to encourage people to come.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North is up again. I do not mind questions. They
are at the minister’s discretion. We do not want this to turn into Question Period, but certainly another
question.



MR. ARCHIBALD: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Finance. I am a little bit surprised.
He does not know how many people are coming. You do not know how much it is going to cost, but yet we
are into a tax forgiveness for people from outside of Nova Scotia. To me that is a little bit peculiar, but most
peculiar is the suggestion that he was mishearing when I was speaking and I was merely pointing out, why
not give the Nova Scotians a break in their taxes before you give our visitors the break, by returning to the
people some of the tax that you have taken from them?



MR. BOUDREAU: It will be just as important, Mr. Speaker, to encourage Nova Scotians having
conventions or annual meetings or whatever to have them here rather than going across the border to New
Brunswick or going down to New England. That will be important.



Let us get to some of the specific questions. I want to come back to some of the main areas of
contention, but there were a number of questions. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition raised
a number of questions here and I want to go through them quickly and try to answer as many as I can. He
raised the question of the definition of a convention. That will be covered in an interpretation bulletin and that
will be available to the honourable member and to the House, but he also specifically asked whether it might
include sports events where a hockey tournament or a basketball tournament was being held. That is not the
intention at the moment. Maybe at some future date in some future years if this proves to be very successful,
it may be expanded, but that is not the intention at the moment.

 

 

[7:30 p.m.]



The second question was a question from the honourable Leader of the Opposition and, I think, one
of his colleagues, why the tax relief for non-renewable resources when our focus, obviously, in this day and
age has to be very much on the renewable resources, agriculture and the forestry and other renewable
resources. The answer really lies in the principle behind all of these tax reduction measures and that is what
we are attempting to achieve here, in a very focused way, to stimulate with these reductions, economic
activity, investment, and the purpose for stimulating the economic activity and the investment is quite simply
jobs. At the end of the day - that is what frustrates me about the NDP. They seem to regard tax reductions as
a reward being handed out. You have been good, so you are going to get a tax reduction, but you are not.



The fact of the matter, Mr. Speaker, is that these tax reductions are very clearly focused to stimulate
and generate economic activity and jobs.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



MR. TERENCE DONAHOE: I thank the Minister of Finance for that reaction, but, with respect, I
don’t have the hang-up that the Third Party has. I understand absolutely perfectly what the minister is trying
to do and I applaud it and, indeed, as he knows - he is responding to my comments - I wanted him to go even
further, because I honestly believe that what he is saying is right. It is an attempt to stimulate economic
activity. Jobs can create new wealth. That is exactly what we must be doing.



But I still have not yet, and maybe I am jumping up too quickly before letting him finish, I don’t
really yet hear him give me, at least, an explanation as to why it would not be worthwhile to attempt even to
afford the same tax relief in the renewable resources area and we could potentially see a considerable growth
in agriculture in the lands and forest industry and so on.



The distinguished Minister of Supply and Services has just very recently talked about a purchasing
program which is going to encourage governments and hospitals and municipal units and others to purchase
Nova Scotia product. If there were greater tax relief to the Nova Scotia agricultural industry, the juices and
the fruits and the other produce that would be produced and bought by government would all have the
multipliers. So that is why, and I know I am going on at some length here, Mr. Speaker, I am encouraging
the minister to go to the renewable resources and, with respect, have not yet heard him offer an opinion as
to why it makes sense only in the non-renewable area.



MR. BOUDREAU: I appreciate the support from the honourable Leader of the Opposition
(Interruption) Yes, I understand that, I say that seriously. It is not a question of not supporting something in
another area of the renewable resources. In fact, in agriculture we do have programs which do support
agriculture at the moment and we would like to have more. I don’t deny for a moment that if we did have more
that there would be a benefit.



But, quite frankly, with all tax reduction measures, we are choosing from a menu. We are trying to
get the biggest bang for the buck. The industry here convinced us in the Department of Finance that there
would be a significant investment if we were to stimulate it with this type of move. It remains to be seen, as
with all of these attempts at stimulation, whether or not we will succeed, but that was the rationale for
choosing that from the menu.



Item No. 3, also the Leader of the Opposition brought up, a provision of Clause 6 (4), about
retroactivity for the New Small Business Tax Reduction Program and he wondered why that was in there.
Why was it retroactive to 1993? This New Small Business Tax Reduction Program was a program instituted
by his government. When it was instituted, I think in 1992, it became effective January 1, 1993, there were
some businesses which were not covered, not many, but a few. There is another provision in the bill which
makes it apply to businesses that operate in Nova Scotia, but were not necessarily incorporated here, because
the original legislation said you could only qualify if you were incorporated under the laws of Nova Scotia.



Well, for example, there might be a completely Nova Scotia company that operated nowhere else in
the world but Nova Scotia, but, for some reason, had incorporated federally and then was automatically
excluded from the legislation. We have remedied that and, so that they would be treated fairly with other
corporations, we made it back to the effective date of the legislation initially. That is the explanation for that
one.



Clause 10, a number of people have raised that. That is the one that gives the minister discretion to
write off, in effect, up to $10,000.



AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, yes. I didn’t like that one.



MR. BOUDREAU: No. I think a number of people raised it and they had some concern about it.
Simply, it is a matter of administrative action.



We, as a government, had attempted, it is being done now, by the way, and it was done by the former
government and it was probably done by every government in some measure in the history of this province,
the difference now is when you are under $10,000 the minister can do it, instead of going to the Cabinet. So
if somebody has, for some reason (Interruption) yes, with the new provision you don’t have to take it to
Cabinet. If you want to write off $500 - and let’s assume there is a good reason for doing it because, if there
is not, then it should not be written off either by the Cabinet or the minister - assuming there is a good reason
for doing it, what it attempts to do is put more authority in the hands of the minister, up to a limit, so that we
don’t have to drag every little administrative matter in front of the Cabinet.



We have tried to do that in other areas as well; for disposition of property, for example, for some
other areas where approval of certain things, expenditures and so on, contracts, we are trying to empower the
departments as much as possible, without getting ridiculous about it. I think we are still going to observe the
same principles that were observed in the past, in terms of writing off these debts but, when they are relatively
small, we are going to leave the authority with the minister.



There was a question, I think, raised by the honourable Leader of the Opposition regarding Clause
12(a), Page 6, which had to do with the equity tax credit and there was a provision for out of province, the
answer is really the same as I have given to the previous provisions for the New Small Business Tax
Reduction.



I think the question came up again, raised by the honourable member for Kings North, but I think
also reiterated by his Leader, when was the PST likely to go down, and why weren’t we looking at that? I think
I have explained that a measure of general application like that is, first of all, tremendously expensive and
we just don’t have the wherewithal to do it at this stage but we are looking at it. We think that the
harmonization possibility still exists. We are still actively pursuing it and, in any harmonization, I think we
will see general tax rates fall.



The $100,000 limit, Clause 8, for the prospectus, the question was, why was it chosen? Why was it
$100,000? Quite frankly, we did a check to see how much these things usually cost. They usually cost about
$125,000 we are told, so we squeezed them a little bit and said we would only go to $100,000. Hopefully, that
will bring the prices down as well. Some of my former colleagues may not be happy about that but
(Interruption) Yes, that was the rationale.



I want to talk for a moment, the former Leader of the NDP asked about the film provisions. We have
structured the film provisions in such a way that they piggyback on new federal provisions and we get, sort
of, double our value. With those piggyback provisions, I think perhaps we will be the most generous
jurisdiction in the country in terms of giving advantage to productions here in Nova Scotia. What we are
talking about are production costs and wages here in Nova Scotia, not something that is paid in California.



I want to take a moment to talk about the seniors. We did make a difficult decision. We didn’t remove
those provisions from any senior who is receiving it, anyone who has been budgeting on it, anyone who has
arranged their living accommodations relying on it will keep it as long as they qualify and they will continue
to qualify on the same basis. We did not change that a whit. But over a period of time we will be eliminating
the program because there will be no new people coming onto that program; that is one of the difficult choices
we made, admittedly.



I would like to take issue with the suggestion that this government has not been concerned about
seniors and that in fact these measures we are talking about, the tax reduction measures, have not addressed
seniors. Again, from the Third Party, on occasion we hear the rhetoric from another age, that you are enacting
these tax measures for the rich and crushing the poor, that the only thing you are concerned about is business.
I want to point out as calmly as I can that last year the largest single tax measure reduction in the budget last
year was a low income tax reduction which applies to seniors. It was worth $18 million. It was by far the
largest. Now that is a fact, that is not rhetoric, I am not making it up, that is a fact. This year in this budget
the largest single tax reduction measure is again specifically targeted for seniors. It is worth about $23 million.
So the largest one last year and the largest one this year applies to seniors.



Let me give you a specific example so I won’t be just talking in generalities. Let’s take a senior
making $15,000 a year, single with normal routine deductions. The end of last month when he made out or
she made out her income tax and got ready to write the cheque, as a result of the budget we introduced last
year, they will be paying that senior - $15,000, single, with normal deductions - will pay about $200 less,
would have paid the year before $411. When they filed their return, they would have written out a cheque,
Revenue Canada, $411; this year it will be $211.



That is a result of that tax reduction measure. That senior is $200 better off as of a couple of days
ago when they filed that return. That is almost a 50 per cent reduction in their tax payable, that is a significant
measure. This year, that same senior again will be given, not only that $200 reduction, but another $300 tax
credit under the provisions we have introduced this year. So that is a $500 benefit and a $500 benefit at a time
when our government is meeting tremendous fiscal challenges.



We are cutting back. We have rolled back wages, we are reducing budgets in every department and,
at that same time, we have given seniors, this particular senior that I used as an example, a $500 benefit. So
I reject any argument that says this government has not paid attention to seniors.



The final point I would like to make on the principle of the bill. The Third Party says, I can’t see what
the principle to this bill is and they really can’t see what the principle of this bill is. I believe that honestly.
Mr. Speaker, let me tell you what I think the principle of this bill is. The principle of this bill is that we must
use tax reduction measures to stimulate investment in Nova Scotia. That is the long and the short of it, there
is no magic.



All of these measures are there because we looked over a menu of measures and tried to pick out the
best ones we could and the best we could afford to stimulate the economy. I have often wondered and some
day we are going to have a debate in this House with the Third Party and we will hear their theory for creating
jobs, because I have been waiting seven years to hear it. One of these days we will have that debate and we
will hear it. Let me tell you what our theory is for creating jobs.



Our theory is this, very simple. We will reduce taxes in very targeted areas to stimulate investment.
When people reach into their pocket, pull out money and invest it in Nova Scotia, you know what happens.
We have economic activity. Do you know what happens when we have economic activity? We have jobs, that
is what happens. (Applause)



The honourable members from the Third Party are stuck with a political ideology that belongs in the
1930’s, (Interruption) Yes, at least they are consistent, I have to give them that. They have been consistent
for the last 60 years. They have been consistent since the mid-1930’s and they remain clinging to a political
philosophy that every other New Democratic Party in the country, I think, has abandoned; enhancing the
wealth of business at the expense of the poor. Who do you think is going to get those jobs? People that do not
have jobs now, that is who will get those jobs.



[7:45 p.m.]



I do not know if the honourable Third Party believes in the Betty Crocker School of Economics. You
go down into the basement and you bake up a job and you come up and you present it. Jobs come from
investment, that is what these provisions are there for. Maybe we picked the wrong ones, maybe the
honourable members in the Official Opposition this time next year will get up and say, look, we have looked
over these measures that you have chosen as a government, we think three of them worked well, two of them
did not work quite so well and one of them was a bust. Well, we will discuss that next year. At least they will
understand what is happening here. I have virtually given up that the Third Party will ever understand.
(Applause)



This bill reduces taxes on Nova Scotians. This bill stimulates economic activity, this bill will create
jobs and with that and for those reasons, I move second reading (Applause).



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 7. Would all those in favour of the
motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.



The motion is carried.



Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 4.









Bill No. 4 - Utility and Review Board Act.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



HON. WILLIAM GILLIS: Mr. Speaker, I am just going to say a few words on the bill. It is self-explanatory, it is giving authority to increase the number of members of the Utility and Review Board to eight
from five, both full-time and part-time members.



Most honourable members would know that the work load of the board has increased a lot since the
former cap was in place. For example, in 1991 the number of appeals and applications was 129. In the last
calendar year the number of appeals and applications went to 378. It was almost a threefold increase with the
same number of people. Since that time one of the board members has passed away and there is one less
person available. I just might point out, in fact, there are six members of the board. There were seven before
Mr. Johnson passed away because certain board members were grandparented in when boards were put
together.



We need the capability to deal with applications and appeals in a timely manner with the proper
resources and the qualified people. That is why I am asking members of the House to approve this measure
so that we will be able to appoint one or two additional members. I might also add that the current Chair, Mr.
Robertson, who has served on the board for quite some time is planning to retire later this year and it will cut
us down to five. Mr. Robertson has carried out a heavy work load over the past period of time and we need
good persons on the board.



The only other thing I will mention is that vacancies will be advertised and they will be dealt with
under the ordinary agencies, boards and commissions type of process.



With that, I would ask all honourable members to approve this on second reading, send it on to the
Law Amendments Committee and we could have any representations there and referred back to the House.
With that, I move second reading of this bill.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 4. Would all those in favour of the
motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, nay.



The motion is carried.



Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, that would conclude Government Business for today.
Perhaps we could ask the Acting Opposition House Leader for a rundown of business tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Opposition House Leader.



MR. JOHN LEEFE: Tomorrow afternoon after Question Period, we will be calling Resolution No.
19 and Resolution No. 96 for debate, 45 minutes on each and the remainder of the time will be spent on House
Orders.



MR. SPEAKER: Very well. The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, we will sit tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00
p.m. I move that we adjourn until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow afternoon at the
hour of 2:00 p.m.



The motion is carried.



[The House rose at 7:52 p.m.]






NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)



HOUSE ORDER NO. 28



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Leader of the Opposition)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Economic Renewal Agency:



(1) Is the Nova Scotia Research Foundation continuing geophysical work either individually
or jointly funded by other levels of government?



(2) If so, what has been done with the previous information developed during the time
geophysical work was being conducted?



(3) Was there a contract in late 1993 or early 1994 for geophysical work, funded under a
Mineral Development Agreement with the federal government but subject solely to the contracting policies
of the provincial government which provides for tenders for contracts over $5,000? If so, was that contract
tendered? If not, why not?



(4) Credit was given to a member of the Nova Scotia Research Foundation Corporation at the
recent Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium for a special session given on the geological evolution of the
Magdalen Basin. The session was called, Preliminary Geophysical Interpretations of the Antigonish-Mabou
Sub-basin. Was this session as a result of geophysical work undertaken by the Nova Scotia Research
Foundation and, if so, during what time period was this work done?



HOUSE ORDER NO. 29



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Department of Health:



(1) The cost of any expenditures during the last three years (1992-1995) for improvements,
building renovations and the like to the Pictou Detox Centre in Pictou, Nova Scotia.



HOUSE ORDER NO. 30



By: Mr. Donald McInnes (Pictou West)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Communications:



(1) The cost of ice and snow control of roads under the auspices of the department per kilometre
for the years 1992-93, 1993-94 and 1994-95.












HOUSE ORDER NO. 31



By: Mr. Terence Donahoe (Leader of the Opposition)



I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move that an order of this House do issue for a return
showing, with respect to the Department of Education:



(1) The total costs associated with the minister’s tour of the province in the spring of 1995 with
respect to the White Paper, i.e., public and stakeholder meetings, radio and newspaper advertisements and
costs associated with the publication of the document in question; and



(2) The total costs associated with the minister’s tour of the province in the fall of 1994 with
respect to the restructuring paper on education which led up to the White Paper’s contents, i.e., public and
stakeholder meetings, radio and newspaper advertisements and costs associated with the publication of the
document in question.